Getting to the Root of ADHD
Paying attention, sitting still and following directions can be difficult for people of all ages at one time or another. But for some, the struggles happen more frequently and are harder to overcome. That’s when attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, may be at play.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one child in nine (11%) has ADHD. The term became more widespread in the 90s and the number of diagnoses skyrocketed into the early 2000s. While this has led some people to believe the condition is over diagnosed, it is not identified lightly. A person with ADHD has a medical condition that causes differences in brain development and brain activity. This makes everyday tasks a constant challenge that aren’t easily dealt with.
To receive an ADHD diagnosis, a child (or adult) must display certain combinations of symptoms from three main categories: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Let’s take a closer look at each of those.
Inattention: Poor attention to detail and a short attention span are the primary characteristics in this category. Inattentive individuals are easily distracted and may not listen even when being spoken to directly. This can mean they miss important specifics or fail to finish what they start. Constant daydreaming, difficulty organizing and losing things are also common signs.
Hyperactivity: Self-control is an issue and a hyperactive child may unintentionally cause disruptions. They are often fidgety, squirmy and restless. Easily bored, they may run, jump or climb excessively and at inappropriate times. Staying seated is difficult, as is staying quiet.
Impulsiveness: By definition, an impulsive child acts too quickly before thinking. But this side of ADHD goes beyond that basic description. They can’t wait to hear the whole question before answering, they may interrupt or butt in, and they find it hard to wait their turn. This can lead to acting without permission or risky behavior. They may also have strong emotional reactions that seem disproportionate to the situation.
Many individuals will inevitably show some of these characteristics from a very young age. But when they persist beyond what’s normal for their age and they begin to affect friendships and life at school and home, the culprit may be ADHD. Reaching out to a medical professional is the only way to know for sure. A doctor will screen your child’s health, behavior and activity, and involve your child’s teacher or refer you to a psychologist if needed.
Connecting and Caring
When ADHD is left untreated, it can be harder for individuals to succeed in life. Researchers have found that this can lead to low self-esteem, depression, failure in school, risk-taking and family conflict.
But the right treatment can improve the symptoms of ADHD and lead to a brighter future. Younger children can be taught to manage their attention, behavior and emotions; as they age, kids can learn to develop more self-control on their own. There are a number of treatment including therapy with or without medication.
Creative Health Solutions’ board certified occupational and speech therapists specialize in treating ADHD-related issues and behaviors, and are trained in the latest techniques. More importantly, we look at each individual’s unique development and determine the underlying or foundational causes of their attention and/or hyperactivity issues.
We have found that by beginning with a comprehensive understanding of the root causes, we can find the best and most appropriate treatments—often without medication. Since our approach is integrated and collaborative, each client benefits from the very best ideas of the whole team. Creative therapists also connect with and build rapport with everyone. We are committed to providing a warm, caring environment that encourages and supports maximum participation and follow through.
Addressing the Underlying Causes
Listening therapies are one important solution. Customizable for all ages and skill level, this therapy integrates sound and sometimes movement to address some of the underlying causes of ADHD. They create a foundation for learning, attention, processing and behavior—as well as a lasting change. Here is a small sampling of the other programs that Creative uses, either on their own or integrated with other therapies to maximize results:iLs (Integrated Listening Systems) integrates music, movement and language exercises to improve brain function. iLs programs are designed to be fun, and may be used on their own or in conjunction with other methods.