It’s normal for children to occasionally forget to do their homework, have trouble remembering information when it’s needed, daydream or doodle during class, act without thinking, ignore directions, delay too much in following instructions, or get fidgety when they go out to dinner with adults.
We all know children who can’t sit still—children that never seem to listen or follow instructions no matter how clearly you present it to them. Or children that blurt out inappropriate comments at the most inopportune time or circumstance. Many times these kids are labeled as troublemakers and criticized for being lazy and undisciplined. I know because, in grade school and high school, I was marked as a troublemaker. Unfortunately, when I was growing up, ADHD did not exist. I was not diagnosed until I was 55-years-old. It did explain a lot—my struggles with attention and focus, poor grades, and impulsiveness.
Inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also signs of ADHD or attention- deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD makes it extremely difficult for children to inhibit their responses—responses that can involve everything from movement to speech, and especially attentiveness.
ADHD can lead to problems at home. Inattention during music or dance lessons. It can cause conflict on the playground, at school, and it can affect your child’s ability to learn and get along with others in social situations.
According to Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., “The signs and symptoms of ADHD normally appear before the age of seven. However, it can often be difficult to distinguish between attention deficit disorder and normal child-behavior.” If you notice a few signs or the symptoms appear only in certain situations, it’s probably not ADHD. On the other hand, if your child exhibits several ADHD symptoms that are present across all situations—at home, at school, and play—it’s time to take a closer look.
Here are some important facts about ADHD from helpguide.org. Children with ADHD can often concentrate on activities they enjoy, but no matter how hard they try, they will have always have trouble maintaining focus on tasks that are boring or repetitive. Not all children with attention problems are hyperactive. Some children who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated.
Children with ADHD may try their best, but still be unable to sit, stay quiet, or pay attention. They often appear to be disobedient, but that doesn’t mean they’re acting out on purpose.
ADHD often continues into adulthood, so don’t wait for your child to outgrow the problem before seeking help. Treatment might help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms. Physicians often prescribed medication for attention deficit disorder, but it might not be the best option for your child; do your research.
In addition to medication, I found Taekwondo an excellent activity for those of us with ADHD. Taekwondo teaches adults and kids alike to concentrate and focus and work on our discipline and self-control issues. Plus, it’s a lot of fun, which makes it easier to focus and keep you on task.
Steve Doherty, M.S. Health Science