IS IT ADHD?

Updated: Aug 6

Understanding and Embracing Difference.

IS YOUR CHILD SHOWING CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR?

Do you think your child is more difficult to parent? For their age and stage of development, do they seem to be harder to manage than other children or your friend’s children?

Does your child fidget, constantly move or act without thinking? Do they seem to be more day-dreamy, so much so that they cannot follow instructions or be left to do the simplest of tasks?

As parents, sometimes we resort to yelling, or asking a hundred times to ‘get dressed’ or ‘to sit and do your homework!’. Having to constantly direct, plan, organise and motivate a child can be extremely frustrating.

On top of all that, being summonsed to school for parent/teacher meetings to discuss problems with your child’s ‘behaviour’ in the classroom can be confronting.

If this sounds like a you or someone in your family, knowing whether this is ‘normal’ is a big question! Most parents that I speak to at the point of seeking help feel lost and unsure of the direction they should take. And, what that help might look like brings fears around the outcome of any type of investigation.

To get to the bottom of what may explain your child’s symptoms, a thorough assessment is needed. Within the assessment process, we seek out the answer. It sometimes lies in an organic issue like:

  • sleep problems,

  • anxiety issues or

  • learning difficulties.

Sometimes there is a trauma history or attachment difficulties.

Sometimes there is accidental reinforcement of the child’s behaviour.

Sometimes it is the case that the child is ‘spirited’ or ‘strong willed’.

At times children present with social difficulties as a result of their behaviours.

For adults, they may develop unhelpful coping strategies. All of these issues can lead to ADHD like symptoms, but often the symptoms are not seen across different environments. Just because a child or adult may tick all the boxes in terms of symptoms of ADHD doesn’t mean that they have ADHD!

A thorough assessment of presenting behaviours needs to be made in order to rule out organic issues. The next step is to assess the child’s learning profile and their sustained attention, planning and organisational skills, working memory and emotional regulation in order to determine if the behaviours they are showing are indeed brain based.

A Word About Parent FEARS around seeking help.

Fears such as being judged by others as a ‘bad’ parent, that your child is just ‘spoilt’, that your child will be treated differently from other children, are often at the forefront of parents’ minds in seeking help.

Parents also fear a diagnosis. Diagnoses remains stigmatised, even today. The use of medication is a scary thought for any parent even if the child is impaired significantly and their learning is suffering. There has always been a great deal of controversy in the media around the use of medication and this doesn’t help in terms of what treatment is helpful and not helpful.

A thorough assessment based on many pieces of information will go a long way to reducing parent fears, decrease the strain on relationships, improve on task behaviour as well as improvement in behaviour outcomes.

To find out more visit our website... www.kuringaipsychology.com.au


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