Childhood ADHD Continues to Climb
- Friday, 02 October 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Early Intervention is Important When Your Child is Diagnosed With ADHD
The number of U.S. children being diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) continues its upward climb. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that eight percent of four to 17 year olds were diagnosed with the condition in 2003. The number of American kids with a diagnosis rose to 11 percent by 2011 and continues to rise.
Children with undiagnosed and untreated ADHD experience problems across almost every spectrum of their young lives. These kids have greater difficulty keeping up with schoolwork and learning, they frequently struggle socially and are more prone to self-harming behaviors than children who are treated for their ADHD. These are compelling reasons to recognize and address ADHD sooner rather than later. Symptoms of ADHD typically show up in toddlerhood and just before entering school (3-6 years of age).
If you suspect that your child might be exhibiting signs of ADHD, the first thing to do is speak with your child’s pediatrician. They can help you with a diagnosis and also work with you to develop a plan for treatment that is best for your child. They can also refer you to the resources in the community that are available to you and your child.
If you would like to talk with a mental health professional about managing your child’s ADHD, we invite you to call or stop by Family Guidance Center. We work with children and whole families to find the most successful treatment that will help your child get the most out of their school years. Early intervention is important for your child so give us a call today so we can partner with you in taking the steps to help your child learn and grow.
Self-Harm Risk for Girls With ADHD
- Friday, 20 March 2015 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Most of the challenges parents may encounter when a child as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often talked about: academic struggles, behavioral problems and social difficulties. But most parents are caught completely off-guard when a child comes to them and confesses to self-injury. Few parents are on the lookout for this, even if their child is living with the symptoms of ADHD.
Self-injury or self-harm refers to more than the practice of cutting. Self-injury can be making cuts in easy to hide places on the body, but it may also manifest as scratching, burning or pulling hair. Why would someone do this? When the human body is injured, it triggers a release of a comforting chemical called dopamine. Kids who are deeply sad may intentionally harm themselves in order to feel the comforting rush of dopamine.
The risk of this behavior is particularly high for girls with ADHD, especially the form that includes both attention deficit and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Over 50 percent of girls with this form of ADHD self-harm. Those with attention deficit only face a higher risk than non-ADHD females, but not as high as those with both subtypes of the disorder.
There are reasons why ADHD is a risk factor for this kind of behavior, just as there are reasons why it appears more prevalent among girls with the condition than with boys. For starters, self-image challenges are common to the condition. These girls struggle profoundly with feeling like they are failures. Add in the impulsivity inherent to ADHD and that can lead to poor decision-making. This may all be a greater risk for girls because they tend to internalize failures and struggles more than boys.
The parent who learns that their son or daughter has been engaging in self-harm can do three important things:
1. Remain calm – the child needs a steady place to go
2. Listen without condemning – they have been beating themselves up already
3. Get help from a trained professional
At Family Guidance we can help children with ADHD deal with the challenges of their diagnosis, including urges to self-harm. We encourage parents to contact us as soon as the problem becomes apparent. There is hope.
Helping Your Child Enjoy a Successful Holiday Season With ADHD
- Friday, 21 November 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
As the winter holidays approach, parents with a child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may feel a bit apprehensive. Family travel, family gatherings and a general sense of havoc are sometimes the order of the day during this time of year. Your child needs routine and predictability in order to feel and behave his best. Yet you can strategize ways to help you child navigate the chaotic holiday months. Here are some ideas to consider.
1. Stay in Your Own Space
Although sleeping over at Grandma’s or a cousin’s home may be how everyone else spends the holidays, it could be a good idea to book a hotel room for your family. If you are at someone else’s house have a separate part of the house where your child can have alone time. This will give your child a place to escape the constant stimulation and somewhere to breathe and decompress.
2. Plan Child-Centered Activities
While adults enjoy the long conversations around the holiday table, these can be tortuous for a child with ADHD. Having to sit still and be quiet for extended time spans is a real test. Talk with your child ahead of time and plan some ways for him to get through these stretches. Breathing techniques can help. It also helps to make sure that these times are balanced against times of freedom and playfulness.
3. Take a Stroll
If, despite your best efforts, you see that your child is starting to come unglued, lovingly take him by the hand and go outside for a walk. It will give you both time to recalibrate. Exercise and fresh air will help you both.
4. Praise as Often as Possible
Give your child plenty of positive feedback when the schedule has flown out the window. Every time you see your child make a good choice or exercise restraint, heap him with words of affirmation. Thanks, praise and recognition are powerful motivators.
Some recommend extra medication during this time. Talk with your doctor about this option. It can also help to talk with a counselor before family gatherings. At Family Guidance we provide counseling to children with ADHD and their parents. Holidays can be joyful despite your child’s challenges. Take action to make them so, call us today.
Becoming Better Informed About ADHD
- Friday, 24 October 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
October is the month for raising awareness about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that this is a condition which affects nearly 6 million American children ages three through 17 years. That works out to around one in 30 children. For many, the condition carries on into adulthood. The prevalence of this condition along with its longevity means that it is something which affects people all around you – perhaps even in your own household.
An Equal Opportunity Condition
ADHD is a real condition recognized as affecting people from all walks of life. Though it is more often diagnosed in boys than girls, it affects both sexes, the rich and the poor, the old and the young, those that live in the city and that live in the country.
What it Looks Like
It is difficult to say in a few short sentences what ADHD looks like, because often it appears as normal behaviors that are simply somehow out of balance. The condition is characterized by impulsiveness, inattention and, sometimes, hyperactivity. All people demonstrate these from time to time, but when ADHD is present the behaviors persist over time and in all the various settings of life.
Risk Factors and Treatment
Although ADHD is a non-discriminatory condition, there are some recognized risk factors. Family history, gender, physiology within the brain and prenatal risks can each contribute to the likelihood of a person developing ADHD. Treatments include medication, behavior therapy and education – usually in combination. If your child is displaying any of these symptoms, having your child assessed for ADHD can be a good idea.
At Family Guidance, we have seen hundreds of cases of childhood and adult ADHD. We can help you determine if the loved one in your life is struggling. You’ll want to know sooner rather than later, since having untreated ADHD leaves a person vulnerable to developing other mental health struggles such as anxiety or depression. What better time than October to make an appointment?
ADHD Study Reveals Condition Produces Early Struggles for Kids
- Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
A recent report found that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is significantly affecting children early in their school life and often before the condition has been formally identified. According to the report, negative outcomes can start showing up as early as grade two and reach into all spheres of the child’s development.
The report is based on testing of 400 Australian six to eight year olds and is part of a long-term ADHD study titled Children’s Attention Project. Researchers identified 179 of the 400 children as having symptoms of ADHD. The 212 children without ADHD served as the control group. Boys and girls appeared to be equally affected by the condition.
ADHD Plus Other Struggles
Investigators found that kids with stronger ADHD scores were struggling more socially and academically compared to their peers without the condition. One-third of children with ADHD were below average in reading and math skills. These kids were also more apt to be dealing with comorbid problems like depression, anxiety or autism – things once believed did not manifest until much later in the child’s life. Close to one-third of the children with ADHD showed evidence of two comorbid conditions. In short, these children were fighting to keep up on every developmental front, intellectual, social and emotional.
Many Struggling Children Unidentified
Perhaps as helpful was the study’s finding that 80 percent of children with ADHD symptoms had not yet been identified. In other words, a good number of children were struggling with no one realizing the battle they were waging. Experts in Australia and the U.S. agree that more work needs to be done identifying children with ADHD at earlier ages.
If you are the parent of an early grade school child who seems to be struggling, it’s important to watch for signs of ADHD. The staff at Family Guidance Center is able not only to test your child, but also to offer treatment that can help your child overcome the challenges they are facing.