Once again, the child is restless: he’s all over the place, sitting down and getting up. In class the teacher complains about him and it even seems as if he is fed up with himself. And once again the question arises: What will happen to this child? This time, we will talk about "Attention Deficit Disorder".
ADHD is now considered to be one of the most common social disorders, and it has repercussions on the emotional, behavioral and academic future of the children who suffer from it. By the way, adults also suffer from the same disorder – but in their case adolescence played its part and the phenomena are somewhat different, for example: a lack of order and organization, forgetfulness and more . . . but that is the topic of a different blog.
At young age this phenomenon is really unpleasant. Why? Because today, with a sharp and clear message that relates to success and to academic and social excellence, a great deal of pressure has been placed on the shoulders of the child who is already having difficulty doing basic things; all the more so when he needs to answer a complex question during an examination, or when he is asked to write a two-page article and to express his opinion on a given matter – a task which from the outset is destined to fail.
Nowadays one finds ever-increasing numbers of children being diagnosed with this disorder, because until recently children with a "mild" disorder were able to manage within the regular school system. However, the classrooms being so overcrowded prevents the teaching staff being able to relate to the individual children in accordance with their individual needs. This is additional to the teacher's lack of specific know-how in this subject; as well as the growing awareness of the various emotional disorders among children, coupled with the parents' desire to take responsibility for the problems that their child has to cope with. All of these have contributed to a dizzying increase in the rate of diagnoses and, along with them, the search for relevant answers.
It is important to note that the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not based solely on a single factor, but on a whole range of biological, psychological and social factors that shape the entire syndrome. Moreover, the disorder is multi-generational, is neurobiological, and is based on small changes in brain structure and function.
The indication, from the available data, is that about 35% of children with ADHD will not complete high school with full matriculation. Far too often the child starts his school life as a failure. Lack of experiences with success results in secondary emotional disorders and a poor level of self-estimation. Even the most highly gifted, highly intelligent children display chronic underdevelopment, although some of them manage to make a recovery and achieve reasonable results, although still not in accordance with their high intellectual potential – and this is a sure recipe for ongoing frustration.
What does ADHD look like?
Parents and teachers sit with their children for many long hours, explaining and teaching them over and over again, but the child is unable to comprehend . . . The parents are frustrated and the child feels that he is disappointing everyone – and especially himself – each time anew. They always talk to me about this gap between their perception of him as a child who is capable, and the actual results. This unrealized "potential" is repeated during every conversation, and only serves to add pressure on all parties involved.
After all, it becomes evident that when a child deviates from the norm, or from what is socially accepted, life becomes a little less comfortable and less pleasant for the entire family. In short, the sense of despondency does not become easier to live with, but the contrary is true; it adds to the parents' feelings of failure and, together, they create a mélange of mutual accusation about the matter where everyone gets the sense of having failed somehow.
So perhaps we can try to think differently? Your disappointment, the parents’ disappointment, stems from your lack of knowledge and, as a result of that, from the lack of understanding and being able to accept the disabilities. The fundamentals of knowledge in this field – which has not been adequately explained to you – is in its implications vis-à-vis your ability to estimate your child's weaknesses versus his skills, on the one hand; and the lack of disclosure and emphasis of the inherently positive characteristics of your child’s excellent nature, on the other.
So, what can we do?
The first and most important thing is not to be angry with the child but to try to understand him: it's not that he doesn’t want to – it’s just that he is simply not able to!! Therefore, you should help him to succeed as much as possible, for example by dividing the task into sub-tasks that can be understood and performed.
Another thing is to redirect the exhausting tiredness, the greater part of which stems from the constant confrontation with all of these – with the anger, the lack of acceptance, the repeated disappointment and feelings of guilt, helplessness and more – towards joint creative activity with the child for at least one hour a day, cut off from technology; for example, working together with the child in the garden, playing ball with him in the park, etc. In other words, trying to create a sense of freedom and tranquility for everyone.
Another important thing: if you have received a diagnosis, it is important to apply the conclusions that stem from it. For example, the nature of learning should be adapted for your child as this has been presented to you in the diagnosis, or as you were told during counseling. The help must be permanent, over the long term, and help your child cope with academic assignments in school. In other words, your child may not be able to learn "like everyone else" – to read the text and answer questions immediately and correctly, but he needs to learn other strategies; for example, to mark the main idea in the text and only then to answer the question. To do this, you need to be in touch with a remedial teacher.
Moreover, if the neurologist determines that treatment should be given to the attention problem, do not ignore it and check out all of the options that are available: Ritalin, Concerta, homeopathic preparations, etc. The decision will ultimately be yours, but you should conduct a thorough examination of the available information and an expert should be consulted. Also, you can certainly look into the possibility of a nutritional change, which could be of great help to your child.
Finally, arrange for neatness and order within the home in general, and in the child's room in particular: the school case should be in its place, books on the shelf and a desk that is clear of anything that might distract your child. In addition, you should avoid continually demanding that he keep things organized, and avoid repeated reprimands of any kind when things are not tidy.
You are welcome to write to me on the subject.
Dikla Golasa- Halioua M.A. in Education
Remedial Teaching Teacher
Consultant for parents to treat Attention Deficit Disorder through the interpretation of drawings and graphology