What is ADHD? When do we need to treat?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity and Impulsivity. Thinking only of symptoms of inattention or impulsivity, which of us does not have them at any specific time or situation?

Due to tiredness and little sleep or even pure anxiety we can show symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Even in normal conditions we can, after some time of concentration and dedication to an activity, catch ourselves “flying” in some thought.

“Flying” is human, it is part of all of us, just as we can have some moments of agitation and impulsiveness.

When does this stop being natural to be considered a disorder? Literally, when there is damage in everyday life in various environments.

When I say that there is functional impairment, I am saying that the child is at odds with peers, children of the same age and subjected to similar conditions.

Much of what is observed are symptoms of daily life in various scenarios that can impact and impair daily activities.

Usually, hyperactive boys appear diagnosed in the first years of life. It is common for mothers and caregivers to be exhausted with the care of hyperkinetic children (those who are faster and more agitated than others).

Hyperactive people are children who are at risk all the time, when climbing and climbing the most unthinkable objects. It is not uncommon for these children to break their arms and legs or get hurt. They go to the wards of schools and clubs, and are known for their small and large injuries.

To everyone’s relief, hyperactivity is one of the symptoms that usually respond well to drug treatment and usually also improve over time. They rarely go unnoticed and in the school environment there are frequent reports that they do not stop quiet and that they have difficulty keeping up with the activity wheel since preschool.

Very inattentive boys and girls are at odds mainly in the school environment, especially when starting the period when the school has higher charges. Performance is generally unsatisfactory and below the child’s potential. They often have school impairment and are diagnosed later than children with agitation symptoms. The diagnosis happens when they are between 6 and 11 years old. Some school, family and medical measures can facilitate the referral, especially at school, of these children. And the sooner the diagnosis comes, the less the damage. Let us pay special attention to the butterflies!

The most common form of ADHD is even when symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity / impulsivity are found to impact both domains. These children share risks and demand that parents and caregivers take some measures.

For some time, schools thought that ADHD did not exist, that it was just the result of an educational bankruptcy where teachers were not engaged and motivated to promote children’s education or were simply too tired. We may have educational failure and inadequate methods for widespread use in everyone, but we always have to consider the individuality and variability of each one of us. Our small genetic and behavioral variations promote demands for individualized strategies.

It is right who thinks that with individualized care we can provide academic improvement, but we also have to think that it is not economically viable to keep a private teacher available, for each student, in every scenario, whether domestic or school. Some strategies can be facilitating and can guarantee individuality associated with viability. Well, this is one of those difficult encounters between the ideal, the possible and the reasonable. And undoubtedly what is reasonable is what we should look for to at least address the academic impact of the child with ADHD.

A warning to parents: with all the strategies we can teach, help, develop, personalize, this child diagnosed with ADHD will still require help to achieve academic success. We will not seek the perfect or the ideal, they will not be children with grades above 90% of the total. We look for the reasonable between the grade we managed to achieve without major complications and consequences for the individual with diagnosis (we can discuss more in other posts … after all what are the costs of 90% + of the total grade for someone with ADHD?). We really need to know if we can allow and guarantee learning.

So, the biggest commitment must be with strategies to learn the content, learn to study and develop autonomy to study. We will always need to follow the same boat: doctor, teacher, family and any other support that the child may need.

It is very common to find fault in neurodevelopment changes: parents, schools, doctor, treatment. Everyone at some point can be blamed at someone’s convenience, but this is a bad way. The sharing of blame is not conducive to complicity, but to accusations that can only have a negative impact on our desirable result.

After many visits, we dare to believe that the therapeutic alliance that is absolutely complicit, in every moment, is always the best alternative. We remember that on this boat we are all apprentices and we are together for a greater good, which is the short, medium and long-term well-being of a child, teenager and even an adult. If this goal is maintained, it will be easier to follow the path, which, however, is never easy.

The diagnosis of ADHD is never based on deficits in just one environment, this is a way of knowing that those are characteristics of that person, found, therefore, in various scenarios and always in the face of the premise that they should be recorded and accounted for only in those cases where functional impact.

The impacts can be registered in situations of coexistence with other children, such as at leisure, in churches, schools, clubs and recreation activities. Almost always through the conscious or unconscious comparison of behaviors, after all our brain is comparative and we observe that there are different patterns of behaviors with relative ease.

The academic impact is more traceable and everyone is attentive, especially in times when the school increases demand, such as during literacy periods or when the child migrates from two teachers and subjects in the 5th year of elementary school to 8 or more subjects of the 6th year of Elementary School.

It is important to combine EVERYTHING with the school and teachers involved, the worst scenario, which happens with some frequency, is that where the child or adolescent who changes schools every year (or even more often).

Changing schools may be necessary and even great, since the top priority of this exchange is to establish a close partnership with the pedagogical coordination, management, teachers, disciplinarians and whoever else is in the school environment. The maxim that we need to “speak the same language” has never been more applicable than in the school setting so that the child or adolescent feels organized and safe to develop in the school environment.

Children, adolescents and even adults who maintain symptoms have other impacts throughout life. Among the impacts, it is important to remember the compromise of self-esteem and socialization, which commonly happen.

Some characteristics in particular of children with ADHD are that these little people have no insight into their disorder and do not notice their deficits. Sometimes these characteristics are manifested with the innocence of being the best of the team and describing with exaltation your skills, without these being verified in practice. Other times symptoms appear in attempts to evade blame and responsibility. For us adults, aware of the disorder in all its aspects, it is better to train our eyes, see the little cuteness of each day and cultivate generosity. After all, none of us need to learn that it is worse than it was thought to be?

We will work to reduce damage … It is described that people with these diagnoses have a higher risk of developing psychiatric disorders throughout their lives. In childhood, they often have symptoms of opposition, motor coordination disorders and dyslexia. At the end of the school period and the beginning of puberty, it is common to have anxiety and depression disorders.

Did you think it was already too complex without knowing these details?

Taking care of ADHD, like Brazil, is not for beginners. It is a job of continuous training, marathon runner training with various situations of sprints. It needs breath, a lot of breath. And the feeling of exhaustion is sometimes a constant. In this training many achievements depend on unions, but not everyone would like to unite around the goal. We need to be motivated by ourselves and whoever else is needed. We need to draw strength, even when they do not exist, looking only at the finish line and the final goal, which is to allow the best development of the little person to whom we are dedicated.

That said, let’s read what we can, here and in other sources, let’s get informed. Courage! We will be here with accurate information, regarding scientific aspects and supported by our experience, and we commit ourselves to always be zealous with the principle of non-maleficence. Let us remember to keep our pacts and renew them whenever necessary, cultivating relationships and bringing everyone together in the care of the person with ADHD, to include them optimizing their chances and perspectives and creating success.

A place where we always get good information about ADHD is on the ABDA website (www.tdah.org.br), a parents’ association that provides very clear books and booklets about ADHD.

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