21 Jul Children’s ADHD
Children’s ADHD is a common childhood disorder that affects approximately 10% of children. These kids experience persistent and developmentally inappropriate levels of behaviour that can continue into adulthood. Children with childhood ADHD may know what is expected of them but have trouble following through because they are overactive and can’t focus long enough to complete a task.
Symptoms of children’s ADHD vary and are sometimes difficult to recognise. A common sign of children’s ADHD is an inability to identify other people’s needs and desires, they can interrupt others when they are talking and have trouble waiting their turn in the classroom. Children’s ADHD can also have difficulty keeping their emotions in check and younger children can have temper tantrums.
Causes for Children’s ADHD
- Nutritional factors including food allergies or food intolerances.
- Processed food because of their chemical additives which can impact brain function. These include artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and additives.
- Environmental exposures including chronic exposure to toxic metals e.g. mercury and lead which have been linked to a variety of neurobehavioral conditions associated with children’s ADHD.
- Prenatal and pregnancy exposure to alcohol, cigarette smoke and other toxic elements.
- Prenatal and pregnancy nutritional deficiencies, e.g. essential fatty acids (fish oil), micro and macro nutrients.
- Heredity factors, children’s ADHD usually have a close family member such as a parent or relative with ADHD
Diagnosing Children’s ADHD
There is currently no medical test for children’s ADHD. The condition is diagnosed by observing a child’s behavioural signs and symptoms. The diagnostic criteria for children’s ADHD are 9 symptoms in two areas of mental functioning:
A child only needs 6 of the 9 symptoms (listed below) in either area to obtain a diagnosis. There are around 500 different possible combinations of these 9 symptoms which means a child can present in many different ways and still reach a diagnosis of children’s ADHD.
Due to the variability of symptoms, children’s ADHD has been classified into 3 subtypes.
- Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive – the majority of symptoms are hyperactive/impulsive
- Predominately Inattentive – the majority of symptoms are in the inattentive category
- Combined Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive – 6 or more symptoms of each category
Signs & symptoms of Children’s ADHD
Inattentive symptoms for children’s ADHD include
- Doesn’t give close attention to details and makes careless mistakes
- Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish tasks such as school work
- Has difficulty organising tasks or activities
- Is forgetful in daily activities
- Easily distracted
- Avoids or reluctant to engage in activities that require sustained mental effort
- Easily loses things needed to complete tasks or activities
Hyperactive symptoms for children’s ADHD include
- Fidgets and squirms
- Blurts our answers questions before the question has been asked
- Leaves their seat when they are expected to remain seated
- Runs and climbs excessively in inappropriate situations
- Difficulty waiting for their turn
- Interrupts or intrudes on others
- Has difficulty playing or participating in activities in a quiet manner
- Talk excessively
- Acts as if ‘driven by a motor’
FIONA STOCK | THE CHILDREN’S NATUROPATH | MELBOURNE NATUROPATH
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