Understanding ADHD in Children

Updated: Sep 30, 2018

Have you been hearing the term ADHD often? Are you unsure of what ADHD means or whether your child or student may be experiencing the associated symptoms?



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most frequently diagnosed mental disorder in childhood. ADHD impacts children and adolescents and may persist through adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD are likely to make achieving everyday tasks significantly more arduous. Behaviors such as hyperactivity, an inability to control impulses, and difficulty concentrating can severely effect performance.


Biological factors are significant when exploring the etiology of ADHD. It is explained that the makeup of the brains of children with ADHD seem to be different in specific areas. One of these differences is that some have discovered a lower rate of functioning in the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is associated with inhibition, thinking, reasoning, concentration, attention, expressive language, and motor control. This being the case, it would make sense that children who are diagnosed with ADHD have a hard time in school. A task like sitting silently in class might be simple for the “typical” student, while a child with ADHD will find this to be an obstacle they can’t attain, causing distress. This may lead to the child acting out or disrupting the class which can then cause the teacher to punish the child by taking away privileges, sending him/her to the principal, etcetera. However, this method does not help the child; in essence it gives the student extra hardships to deal with, adding more difficulties to their challenges. If the actual issues of ADHD are not properly addressed, the situation can become progressively worse because the child cannot physically do what is required of him/her to do as easily as the teacher or parent expects. Often without even realizing it, the parents and/or teachers are contributing to the child’s symptoms and behaviors.


When working with a child with ADHD, it is important to implement consistency, structure, behavior modification, and social skills training. Other interventions to consider include psychotherapy for the child and caretakers, special education, and medication. ADHD is a treatable mental illness and there is an array of modalities available for families and schools to utilize. It is imperative that children are properly tested and diagnosed in order to find the most effective method of treatment.



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