At Centro Integra, located , we have Psychologists specializing in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder ( ADD ) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD ) in children .

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is an innate neurobiological disorder (CNS and peripheral diseases) with a significant genetic load that affects the lives of those who suffer from it in a varied and persistent way. So if you suspect that your child may have ADHD, it is best to consult a specialist psychologist .

SYMPTOMS OF ADHD IN CHILDREN

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children is characterized by three different types of symptoms :

  • Difficulties in attentional performance (inattention): “leaves his tasks incomplete, makes careless mistakes, is easily distracted, …”
  • Difficulties in regulating the level of activity (hyperactivity): “he does not stay still in his chair, he is continually doing something with his hands, he talks without stopping, …”
  • Impulse control difficulties (impulsivity): “he answers before he has finished speaking, interrupts conversations, cannot wait his turn, …”

These symptoms have repercussions in several areas of the child’s life, such as school performance or social interaction.ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) symptoms are usually  worse in situations that require sustained attention or mental effort, or that lack intrinsic appeal or novelty (eg, listening to the teacher in class, doing the homework, listening to or reading long texts, or working on monotonous or repetitive tasks).

The  ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity décifit)  is a common disorder among children. It can be triggered from a fairly early age, such as 3 years old, however, it is detected mainly from the age of 6 , at which time the child begins to be limited in school tasks that require their attention and concentration.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS ADHD? CRITERIA FOR DIAGNOSIS

A. Criterion 1 or 2 must be met:
1) Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months with an intensity that is maladaptive and incoherent in relation to the level of development:

Inattention:

  • They often do not pay enough attention to detail or make careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities.
  • Often has difficulty maintaining attention to tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow instructions and does not complete schoolwork, assignments, or duties at school (not due to unruly behavior or inability to understand instructions).
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or has trouble engaging in tasks or activities (eg toys, school exercises, pencils, books, etc.).
  • Often misplaces items necessary for tasks or activities (eg toys, school exercises, pencils, books, etc.).
  • Often easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli.
  • He is often careless in daily activities.
2) Six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months with an intensity that is maladaptive and incoherent in relation to the level of development:

Hyperactivity:

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet, or fidgets in seat.
  • Often leaves his seat in class or in other situations where he is expected to remain seated.
  • Often runs or jumps excessively in situations where it is inappropriate to do so (in adolescents it may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
  • They often have difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
  • It often “runs” or acts as if it had an engine.
  • Often talks in excess.
  • Impulsiveness:
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
  • Often has difficulty keeping turns.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on the activities of others (for example, intrudes on conversations or games).

B. Some symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity or inattention causing disturbances were present before 7 years of age.

C. Some symptom-induced disturbances occur in two or more settings (for example, at school and at home).

In general, four subtypes are mainly accepted according to the importance of the symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity:

  • Tipo Predominantement Inatentivo.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type.
  • Combined Type.
  • Non-Specific Type (used for cases in which it cannot be classified
  • appropriately among the above three and it is unwise to use another known form of psychiatric classification).

WHY DOES ADHD OCCUR IN CHILDREN?

Although there are different explanatory theories for the origin of  ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children , the biological (organic) cause is considered to be the main responsible, understanding this as a chemical imbalance in the brain areas involved in attention and movement.

Genetic inheritance has also been shown to be the main predisposing factor for developing  ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

TREATMENT OF ADHD IN CHILDREN

The treatment for ADHD in children consists of a multidisciplinary approach . The success of the treatment will depend on the age of the child, the severity of the diagnosis and its early stage.

The  treatment for ADHD  psychological level is based on:

  • A treatment program with operant techniques, self-control, social skills, self-instruction and problem solving, which will be carried out directly with the child.
  • It also includes a part of psychoeducation for parents in order to prevent them from adopting an overly negative and punitive educational style and blaming themselves for the situation, as well as providing them with an increase in their knowledge of this disorder.

The  treatment for ADHD  to psycho level and school focuses on improving the difficulties you can find the child at school because of their difficulty sustaining attention and need continuous motion. For this reason, the contact between teachers, parents and the psychologist is essential.

WHAT CAN I DO IF MY CHILD HAS ADHD?

There are many things we can do as parents when our child has ADHD:

  • Understand the problem we are facing. Be aware that your child’s behavior is solely due to the disorder they have (not out of meanness, to make them nervous, or to attract attention).
  • Develop realistic expectations: We cannot ask the same things from a child with ADHD as from another without this problem.
  • Structure the tasks and divide them into several parts with their respective short breaks.
  • Encourage the child’s potential: sign up for extracurricular activities, such as sports, drawing classes, etc.
  • Clear, brief rules and instructions, if possible they are visibly present (posters, signs), which the child can repeat aloud when going to perform the task each time they are to do it (they lack future perspective).
  • Make a schedule and stick to it: It is easier for a child with ADHD to stick to a routine. Try to keep it on weekends and even on vacation.
  • Immediately reinforce appropriate behaviors of attention and tranquility, taking into account that they will never become like those of a child without ADHD. Therefore, we must reward any step or approach towards the desired behavior.
  • It is important to continually change the reinforcers, due to the greater tendency of habituation of these children.
  • Punish behaviors of hyperactivity, impulsivity or inattention, with time out or cost of response. Remain constant in the punishments.
  • It is important to start reinforcing, for at least two weeks, before starting with the punishments. The child has to know what is being asked of him and in what situations before beginning to be punished for his bad behavior.
  • Another aspect to keep in mind is that the child should receive more rewards than punishments. With these children it is very easy to fall into continuous punishment due to the nature of their problem, hyperactivity, but we have to try to value the efforts they make to normalize their behavior and ignore some mild behaviors of concern that the child does not can avoid.
  • Practice the technique of self-instructions or exercises that promote self-control (like the story of Juan-Tortuga).
  • Train the child in relaxation.
  • Use positive language.
  • Avoid labels: you are bad. It is better to say that the child has inappropriate behavior than to say that he is bad. A behavior can be changed, but modifying the way of being of oneself is more complicated.
  • Approach him wanting to help him, see him as a child who has a problem, not as a problem child.
  • Avoid accusation, ridicule and lack of respect: to express negative feelings, when we are angry with him, it is better to use formulas such as “I feel … when you do … because …” (I feel sad when you don’t finish my homework because I see that you do not learn everything you could).

WHAT TO DO IF I THINK MY CHILD MAY HAVE ADHD?

It is conservatively estimated that between 3% and 7% of school-age children suffer from it, of which up to 50% continue to suffer in adulthood.

In boys, ADHD occurs 3 times more than in girls. It is the most frequent disorder in clinical consultations and, therefore, the most studied in the last 20 years.

So if you suspect that your child may have  ADHD, it is best to consult a   specialist Child Psychologist .

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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