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What causes ADHD?
Largely this is a genetic disorder but it can also be associated with birth complication or as a direct result of disease or trauma to the central nervous system. In addition, experiential and social factors play a significant role and can therefore improve or exacerbate the symptoms.
What are the Core Symptoms?
The core symptoms are traits that we can all display at times, but with ADHD children the symptoms are extreme when compared with their peers. In particular, they struggle to sustain attention to tedious and repetitive tasks which often means they move from one task to another without completing any unless supervised. They also suffer with distractibility, where they pay attention to many things at the same time; and may focus on inappropriate things, which can be dangerous or limiting.
Impaired impulse control means they are unable to inhibit behaviour even when a situation demands it. This often results in problems waiting to take turns in games or participate in conversations.
Those who are hyperactive seem to be driven by a motor. They are constantly fidgeting, wriggling, tapping, rocking and out of their seat whenever possible. Hyperactivity decreases over time often resulting in more restless behaviour, frequently seen in teenagers and adults. The ADD child who is not hyperactive appears to day dream and may seem less intelligent when compared to their peers. This is because they hyper focus on things and it causes major problems in relation to education and safety.
Variability in performance is particularly problematic as it affects quality, accuracy and speed. The level of performance can vary from day to day, or even hour to hour.
In addition they have difficulty following instructions, shifting from one task to another or changing routines. They have little self control and become easily frustrated, often over reacting to situations, especially when criticised.
Because they process information slowly they can often become fatigued and anxious. This is often exacerbated by poor sleep patterns which causes many to have a ‘jet lag’ affect in the mornings.
Punishment and rewards are often ineffective because they live in the present. This means they are unable to draw on past experiences to predict the future. They are also generally very forgetful, disorganised and have little concept of time.
There are many additional complications as approximately 70% of ADHD children have one or more co-existing conditions. It is often found with Asperger Syndrome or dyslexia and many display excessive oppositional behaviour and conduct disorder. Anxiety and depression are also common as well as learning difficulties, obsessive behaviour or thoughts, poor co-ordination and speech and language difficulties. Early intervention is essential as the later the diagnosis the more likely multiple conditions will be present and the greater the severity.
Is ADHD a result of poor parenting?
When a child is excessively impulsive, inattentive and hyperactive this causes stress within any family. If they also have one or two co-existing conditions this is likely to take families beyond their coping threshold and at the very least cause parents to be less effective. Many families are at crisis point and we need to appreciate that they are there as a result of the ADHD symptoms, not that they are responsible for the child’s problems.
Due to the variability of ADHD, and the complexity of the symptoms and environmental conditions, there are those who will underachieve at school, have poor social skills and possibly follow a life of crime. Equally there will be others who live in a nurtured environment, have a holistic treatment plan and succeed, despite their difficulties, especially when they are passionate about what they do. ADHD can most definitely lead to a positive outcome with the right intervention
Solution Focused Coaching and ADHD
ADHD is one of the most treatable disorders, and when solution focused coaching is implemented as part of an holistic programme (psychiatry, educational and behavioural interventions and possibly medication) a child can reach their full potential.