Understanding ADHD & How to Manage the Symptoms
Understanding ADHD ADHD stands for Attention-De cit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurobehavioral disorder that is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. People with ADHD may have dif culty paying attention, may be hyperactive or restless, and may act impulsively. These symptoms of ADHD occur in 2 or more settings, such as at work, at school, and/or in social settings. ADHD starts in childhood, but can continue in adolescence and adulthood. An estimated 11% (6.4 million) of US school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD in their lifetime.* Additionally, an estimated 4.4% of adults have ADHD in the US.† When applied to the full US adult population aged 18 and over, approximately 10.5 million adults are estimated to have ADHD in the US. Only a qualified health care professional can accurately diagnose ADHD . The Terms of ADHD and ADD (known as Attention-De cit Disorder) are used to describe the same condition. Your child's health care professional can explain more about the symptoms of ADHD and its subtypes (ie, predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, or a combination of both). It is also important to understand what ADHD is NOT. The exact origin of ADHD is unknown, but researchers believe the disorder may be caused by one or more of the following factors: Brain Chemistry ADHD is thought to be caused by an imbalance of two chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, in the brain. Researchers think that these chemicals might play an important role in ADHD. You can learn more about ADHD and the brain below.
Possible Causes of ADHD Genetics Research suggests that ADHD tends to run in families. However, this does not mean that all children in a family will have the disorder. You can track ADHD symptoms in your family by completing family tree . Environment Certain external factors, such as smoking during pregnancy or complications during pregnancy, delivery, or infancy, may contribute to ADHD.
What parts of the brain are thought to be involved in ADHD? We do not know exactly why people develop ADHD. It may be related to problems with a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. The picture below shows the different parts of the prefrontal cortex that control attention, behavior, and judgment. Certain regions of the prefrontal cortex may not function properly in people with ADHD.
The 3 Subregions of the Prefrontal Cortex Thought to be Related to the 3 Core Symptoms of ADHD.
Possible Causes of ADHD If the areas of the prefrontal cortex shown in green, blue, or brown are impaired, a person with ADHD may have symptoms such as inattention or impulsive or hyperactive behavior. The 3 core symptoms of ADHD are: 1. Inattention 2. Hyperactivity 3. Impulsivity The following are possible symptoms of ADHD: Inattentive Symptoms Difficulty paying attention to details/makes careless mistakes Has difficulty sustaining attention Often unable to follow through on tasks Trouble with organization Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort Often loses things Easily distracted Forgetful in daily activities Hyperactive/Impulsive Symptoms Fidgets/squirms Has trouble staying seated Excessive running/climbing or restlessness Trouble with quiet activities Needs to be "on the go" Often talks too much Blurts out answers Difficulty awaiting turn Interrupts conversations or intrudes on others
Symptoms of ADHD Symptoms may look different in patients of different ages . Having some of these symptoms of ADHD does not necessarily mean your loved one has ADHD. Only a quali ed health care professional can accurately diagnose ADHD. There is no simple test for ADHD. However, there is a standardized way that ADHD is diagnosed. To be diagnosed with ADHD, a person must have at least 6 inattentive symptoms and/or 6 hyperactive/impulsive symptoms listed in this table (for people ages 17 and older, only 5 symptoms must be present). In addition, the person must: Have symptoms for at least 6 months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities Had several symptoms before age 12 Have several symptoms in at least 2 settings (such as home, school, or work) Have symptoms that clearly interfere with or reduce the quality of social, academic, or occupational functioning Have symptoms that are not be better explained by another cause These are not the only factors that may be used to diagnose ADHD. An accurate diagnosis should be based on a complete history and evaluation by a quali ed health care professional. Health care professionals may take several steps to determine if your loved one has ADHD. To determine if your loved one has ADHD, a health care professional may:
Symptoms of ADHD Ask about symptoms (current and past), including severity, duration, and how they have affected your loved one's social, school, or work performance Ask about whether there is a family history of ADHD or other psychiatric conditions Ask about any history of mental health problems (eg, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder) to rule out other possible causes for his or her symptoms Ask about illnesses or other problems when your loved one was young Perform a physical exam and ask about general health status to rule out other possible medical causes for your loved one's symptoms Review your loved one's school records It is important to distinguish ADHD from other disorders. A number of mental health disorders may have some of the same symptoms as ADHD. It is important to determine if your loved one's symptoms are caused by ADHD or another mental health disorder. If your loved one has any other medical conditions, it is important to speak with the health care professional and the other specialists on your loved one's health care team to make sure you get the right management for your loved one.
Symptoms of ADHD Parents & Caregivers
School can be challenging for anyone, but it can be even more so for children and teenagers with ADHD. You've probably already received a lot of information about ADHD. You may feel overwhelmed and may not know where to start. It is important to know that you and your child are not alone. An estimated 11% (6.4 million) of US school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD in their lifetime.* Further, there are many community based and school based professionals that can aid you in your efforts to help your child. Select a topic to find out more. Discusses what you can do at home that may help your child with school-related matters, such as focus on getting homework done and being prepared for the school day. Describes the potential members of a school support team and provides suggestions for working with teachers and others to help ensure your child has the appropriate support. Explores the challenges your child with ADHD may face when moving from one grade or school to another. As a karate instructor, I have worked with hundreds of kids with a wide range of challenges, like ADD/ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and sensory processing issues. Martial arts has been able to help all of these kids in some common ways. What Martial Arts Offers to “Complex” Kids What exactly does martial arts teach, besides punching and kicking? Why would you choose martial arts over baseball or soccer?
Diagnose ADHD Unlike most team sports, martial arts are focused around an individual’s personal growth, rather than comparison to others. This makes martial arts a great outlet for children in general, and particularly helpful for children with challenges. “Team” sports have a heavy focus on physical development focused on helping children become better at a single sport. Martial arts focus on four fundamental areas of growth: 1. Social development – Teaching the importance of leadership, teamwork, respect, accountability and honesty. Through in class drills and mat chats, instructors talk about key points of leadership development. Students learn how to communicate with one another in an effective manner. Giving requirements to kids with ADD/ADHD builds responsibility and independence. Holding them accountable for their actions is a huge step in their development. 2. Emotional development– Building self-con dence, mental/physical control, courage and perseverance (what I believe to be one of the most important lessons we teach). Students are challenged to go above and beyond the expectations they have set for themselves, encouraged to never give up on their goals, never letting limitations or setbacks stop them from becoming successful. For children with ADD/ADHD, mental/physical control can be very dif cult to manage. Martial arts engage and stimulate the mind and body from start to finish. 3. Intellectual Development- Learning how to focus and training to become self- disciplined. (Focus was the main reason why my parents enrolled me in martial arts). Since our kids with ADD/ADHD constantly struggle with focusing and staying on task, we treat the brain just like every other muscle in the body, pushing it to its limits with memory and concentration games, as well as educating each student in how to apply every skill we learn in the studio, at home, at school and everywhere else they go.
Supporting Kids with ADHD through Martial Arts Training 4. Physical Development- Training the body to have balance, speed, agility, exibility, strength and coordination. Every class is a challenge, working on a range of important health and tness aspects that apply to every sport and physical activity. Everything we teach creates a strong foundation of functional movements that enhances athleticism. Physical activity is one of the best releases for children with ADD/ADHD. It helps stimulate the brain for better focus and performance. All of these areas of development are applicable to every aspect of life. For children with ADD/ADHD, learning how to implement these is particularly important, as it enables them to embrace the positive traits of ADD/ADHD and challenge the negative ones. We teach our students to be role models and to strive for greatness, to take challenges head on and believe in themselves no matter what differences they have. One of our students, for example, who struggles with Asperger Syndrome, has learned how to better communicate with his peers in just 4 months of being in our program. He once struggled to hold a continuing conversation, and now he was recently awarded for his ability to read “Charlotte’s Web” — with con dence and enthusiasm — to his entire class at school. Martial Arts as “Medication” I have seen Martial Arts work well for the children I work with, too. I truly believe that if you enroll your kids in Martial arts classes, the outcome will be one of the most bene cial things you can do for them. I hope you’ll try it and see :). And just to encourage you further – here are some keys to help you nd a school that will be a good fit for your kid.
Use Martial Arts to Manage ADHD, Asperger’s & Other Issues What to Look for in a Karate/Martial Arts Studio 1. Age speci c programs– some schools put all the kids together in one class, which can be frustrating for children. Look for schools that pair up the ages into separate groups: 3-5, 6-9 and 10-14. 2. Pre-evaluation/ assessment test– nd a school that does an assessment before the rst class. This gives the child, parent and instructor time to meet and establish a relationship, and it also helps get the student comfortable with new surroundings. You’ll also get a feel for whether that instructor’s personality will be a good t for your child’s learning style. Finally, it will give both you and the instructor a good idea of where your child is in the four areas of development, and will be a good baseline for placement. 3. Student to instructor ratio– Make sure that the school has at least two instructors per class. For children’s classes it is imperative that they get as much individual attention as possible. More instructors means more feedback for the students, and more positive relationships to build with your child. Have fun!– The most important factors in a child’s success are motivation, drive and simply enjoying what they do. If a child has fun, they will immediately have a desire to work harder. Make sure that they are enjoying the atmosphere and style of classes. Not all schools are created equal, and not all are right for
ADD/ADHD-Friendly Instruction Studies show that a complex physical activity, like martial arts, strengthens neural networks in the brain, and enables ADD/ADHD kids to practice self-control. Movement helps them develop coordination while building strength.
Martial Arts for Kids with ADHD: Mental Health Benefits I tell my instructors that they can’t just do what’s easiest for them, they must do what’s best for the student. We incorporate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues into the instruction, and keep the directions and demonstrations short. When a child is distracted, Our instructors redirect the student by having them show a “ready stance.” The rapid pace of the classes -- and the moves practiced -- keep students alert and focused. The Martial Arts Program offered at the Brooklyn House of Champions in Canarsie, Brooklyn meets the criteria listed above. They have friendly and patient instructors with the knowledge and understanding to help complex kids to set and achieve goals. Their classes are well separated by age and skill levels, and most classes are staffed by an instructor and assistant. The schedule for classes are conveniently offered to meet the high demands of today's working families.
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