Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a disorder that inhibits a child's ability to learn and interact with others, are difficult to pinpoint, as they are often mistaken for everyday child behavior. Daydreaming, forgetting about homework and interrupting class are all indicators that a child may have ADHD and is not just exhibiting regular child behavior.
The symptoms of ADHD impact various aspects of a child's life, especially school. It's important for parents and teachers to be aware of the issues that children with ADHD grapple with on a daily basis, both in the classroom and at home. This can help parents and teachers make learning, studying and interacting with other students easier for these children. There are three traits that are often seen in children with ADHD. These include hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness.
--Hyperactivity. The typical image of a child with ADHD includes a level of hyperactivity. Children may not be able to stay in their seats and spend much of the class fidgeting and walking around the classroom. They may feel a need to bounce around from one task to another before completing any of them. However, not all children with ADHD are hyperactive; instead, they can be described as having "ADHD, inattentive type."
--Inattentiveness. Many children with ADHD have a difficult time paying attention to specific subject matter. While they may have no problem focusing on a subject matter that interests them, they struggle when it comes to those tasks and information that are considered boring or repetitive. Inattentiveness can be accompanied by hyperactivity, but there are many children with ADHD who can be found sitting at their desk daydreaming and more unresponsive than other students.
--Impulsivity. ADHD can cause children to lack self-control in many social situations. Helpguide.org, a nonprofit mental health and well-being organization, explains the common impulsive traits of these children: "Because they censor themselves less than other kids do, they'll interrupt conversations, invade other people's space, ask irrelevant questions in class, make tactless observations, and ask overly personal questions." Impulsive children may be deemed rude or weird because of their tendency to be moody and overreact emotionally to situations. This can manifest as temper tantrums or angry outbursts.
It's important to be careful when diagnosing a child with ADHD, as these traits may represent a host of other possibilities including learning disabilities, psychological or behavioral disorders, medical conditions and traumatic experiences from major life events.
It's easy to see how each of these traits can easily pose a challenge in school. These children are often late for class, forget or lose assignments, and are classified as troublemakers or disruptive. Fortunately, there are a number of approaches that can be taken to help children with ADHD excel.
Organization is key for children with ADHD. Homework planners and schedules are helpful resources for remembering assignment due dates and to adequately prepare for tests. Calendars are particularly effective as they can be put in plain view. Predictable schedules are also helpful in conditioning a child to complete important daily tasks.
Partnering with teachers and other school staff can be incredibly important in the success of a child with ADHD. It's not unreasonable to ask for extra time for tests or assignments. Monitor the child's progress by consistently checking in with their teacher.
Setting up an efficient study space and encouraging positive study habits at home are also vital to a student's success. The space needs to be free of distractions, such as pets, other family members, Internet and television. Supplies should be organized and readily available. Breaking down assignments and helping children stay on-task is incredibly important for students of ADHD. Rewards for completing assignments and staying on task are effective positive reinforcements.
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, don't fret. Though children with ADHD are presented with various challenges in the school setting, they are also gifted with a number of wonderful characteristics. For example, children with ADHD are often incredibly creative, enthusiastic and flexible. They have a tendency to possess a multitude of interests and unique thoughts. Furthermore, when students with ADHD are faced with a task that interests them, their passion and drive to succeed may be extremely motivating. In a setting that might otherwise prove challenging and discouraging, praising children for these exceptional traits is one way to make them feel comfortable and successful in their own skin.