Understanding ADHD with Evolve Psychology Services
As part of the World Mental Health Day we are hoping to support families all over Yorkshire who may be looking to understand more about ADHD, are already on a journey towards an assessment or are looking for post diagnostic support.
If you have become aware of your child or a family member displaying a new behaviour or seen that something, that was previously manageable, has now becoming unmanageable following a recent school transition, then please read on.
What is ADHD?
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ADHD is a behavioural disorder that includes hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness.
You will often notice the symptoms of ADHD at an early age and they become more noticeable when a child or young person’s circumstances change, such as when they start school.
Children can be assessed from the age of 6 and we can also assess adults who feel that their difficulties have been missed.
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What do we look for when we think about ADHD?
When we are thinking about assessing ADHD it is important to recognise that children and adults can present with a range of different traits and behaviours across the following three areas. They don’t necessarily present all behaviours and to receive a diagnosis relating to ADHD they may not have all of them to the same degree.
The first area is inattention where someone has difficulty staying focused and attending to a task that they see as mundane.
They may procrastinate doing their homework or work because it takes a great deal of mental energy to complete it. They are easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, shifting from one activity to another and seem to get bored easily. Someone with ADHD may appear forgetful and even spacey or confused as if they are in a fog or living in a different world in their own heads. They may not seem like they are listening when they are being spoken to and find organising and completing tasks extremely difficult, as is sorting out what information is relevant versus irrelevant.
If you have inattentive symptoms, you may have great difficulty keeping up with schoolwork or bills, frequently lose things, and live your life in a disorganised way. Following through on promises and commitments may be a struggle and time management is also often an issue.
Inattentive behaviours are often overlooked because they are harder to identify and less disruptive than hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, so kids with these symptoms may slip through the cracks.
An individual with the predominantly inattentive presentation of ADHD may even appear sluggish, lethargic, and slow to respond and process information.
Another area is hyperactivity, which is what most people think of when they hear the term “ADHD.”
Children and adults who are hyperactive have excessively high levels of activity, which may present as physical and/or verbal overactivity. They may appear to be in constant motion and perpetually on the go as if driven by a motor. They have difficulty keeping their bodies still moving about excessively, squirming, or fidgeting. People are often feel restless, especially if they are adults or teens.
You may notice that they talk excessively, interrupt others, and monopolize conversations, not letting others talk. It is not unusual for an individual with hyperactive symptoms to engage in a running commentary on the activities going on around them. Their behaviours tend to be loud and disruptive. This difficulty regulating their own activity level often creates great problems in social, school, and work situations.
The third aspect is impulsivity.
Children and adults have trouble inhibiting their behaviours and responses. They often act and speak before thinking, reacting in a rapid way without considering consequences. They may interrupt others, blurt out responses, and rush through assignments or forms without carefully reading or listening to instructions.
Waiting for their turn and being patient is extremely difficult for people who are impulsive. They prefer speed over accuracy and so they often complete tasks quickly but in a careless manner. They go full swing into situations and may even place themselves in potentially risky situations without thought. Their lack of impulse control can not only be dangerous, but it can also create stress at school or work and in relationships with others. Delayed gratification or waiting for larger rewards is extremely hard for an impulsive person.
How to manager ADHD at home
Positive Parenting. Creating clear and consistent expectations and consequences with a home environment that has predictable routines can help manage symptoms of ADHD. Solutions can be found by identifying the aspects of life that your child may find difficult and creating strategies to help them manage these e.g. organisations skills.
Empowering the support team with knowledge Whether it is a teacher, football coach or family member, it is important they know and understand about ADHD so that they can reinforce and stay consistent with your approach.
Reframing ADHD When a child grows up feeling less than, stupid, lazy or not as able as other people, life can feel hopeless. It is our job as adults to help children understand that they are not these negative labels and that the future holds wonderful possibilities for them. Traits of ADHD can be real strength for many people.
Structure your child’s home life Routines allow him to focus on the big picture instead of worrying over the small details of living. Establish mealtimes, a bedtime, and quiet times. You may want to establish a schedule and draw a step-by-step chart for any task they have trouble with. You can also look at how to manage their activities so that they are not overstimulated or exhausted.
Teach your child to look before they leap Children with ADHD can to be impulsive and unaware of how their behaviour may affect others. Help your child develop the habit of considering the consequences of their actions. Suppose they want to play catch just outside the living room window. What might happen? Is there a better place to play?
Help with Homework Think of homework as a way to teach your child how to get organised and break down big problems into small ones. First, think about the best time of day for doing their homework and what they need to be able to stay on task and avoid distractions. Secondly, make sure that your child has a neat, quiet place to work. It is useful to sit down with them before they begin and discuss the plan. They can write down what they need to do every night of the week until it is finished to create a structure. Resist the temptation to do the work for them and instead help them figure out the best way to go about it.
To find our more about the myths and facts about ADHD visit this page.
Where can you turn for help?
If you are concerned about your son, daughter or yourself and feel that further assessment might be helpful then our team are available to help.
We offer ‘Gold Standard’ assessments for people of all ages which are recommended by government guidelines.
We can also offer post diagnostic support which is often not available from other services, and we have no waiting times.
We are also open for face to face assessments to ensure that patients can continue to be assessed and have their needs identified despite the current pandemic which is halting so many other services.