Deficit Disorder Bookstore
The Attenion Deficit Disorder Child: Challenging Parents,
Teachers and Friends
by Jeanne Bauer
The ADD child exhibits a series of behaviors that are common in most
children. Most children misbehave, act silly and day dream. So what,
then, is the difference? The child with Attention Deficit Disorder
exhibits these behaviors in a constant and extreme manner, often
interfering with their academic, social and family interactions.
Here are the variety of ways that a child may exhibit ADD behaviors:
Inattention: The most visible and well-known behavior of a child with
attention deficit issues is an inability to maintain attention and
focus over an extended period of time. This behavior shows up in a
variety of situations, such as forgetting or confusing instructions
that were just given, being inattentive when involved in a
conversation, growing bored of activities within moments, appearing
to be in a daze or day dream, and being unable to complete tasks.
Hyperattention: Paradoxically, the same ADD child who cannot stay
focused enough to finish many common tasks will have no problem
whatsoever in focusing on a video game or TV show for hours. This
ability to hyper-focus on chosen activities is very common in the
child with Attention Deficit Disorder. This behavior is possible
only because the child pursues the desirable activity through a
heightened level of excitement which is a controlled form of
Distractibility: An ADD child can be easily distracted from most
activities by any form of stimulus in the environment (movement,
color, sound), as well as by their own scattered, fast-moving
thoughts. This results in half-finished or poorly completed tasks,
constant minor non-compliances with known rules, zig-zagging from one
activity to another, and the inability for the child to do well in
group situations (such as school) where compliance with the rules is
Impulsivity: An ADD child will often blurt out information in
inappropriate ways and make poor decisions relative to their actions.
This child may risk his or her own safety without a second thought,
running into the street, climbing to the top of a tree or rock
formation, or jumping or diving into a pool without checking the
depth. The child with ADD acts on impulse rather than through logic
or problem-solving. Impulsivity in many ADD children can also be
characterized by impatience or temperamental (often oppositional)
behavior since the ADD child often feels a driving need for something
(anything!) to happen immediately.
Hyperactivity: Of all the characteristics of an ADD child, the
behavior that is most difficult for those around the child to accept
is the presence of hyperactivity. The child with hyperactivity is
always in motion -- touching, searching, pushing, jumping, running,
tapping, and squabbling with friends and siblings. The hyperactive
ADD child seems to need a high level of stimulation at all times in
order to feel OK. Hyperactivity will also be seen in the form of a
child who talks incessantly, clowns around all of the time, and finds
every other form of trouble that a parent can name.
Insatiability: The ADD child has an insatiable need for attention to
be brought onto himself. While all children thrive on adult
attention, focus and concern, the child with ADD can never seem to
get enough. They act out, talk incessantly, joke around, monopolize
conversations, demand the teacher's constant involvement, show off to
friends, and badger incessantly until they get their way.
Clumsiness and Poor Coordination: Many ADD children exhibit problems
with fine motor control. This can be seen in poor handwriting and in
difficulty performing other routine tasks such as buttoning buttons
or tying shoelaces. When combined with the child's inability to plan
or organize a flow of activities, the resulting outcome (written
paper, self-dressing, etc.) may appear chaotic and disorganized. Many
ADD children also exhibit gross motor control clumsiness due to poor
motor planning cognitive skills or other co-existing weaknesses in
areas such as balance, depth-perception or eye-hand coordination.
Disorganization: The ADD child is a study in disorganization! Whether
it is the state of the child's room, the organization of a term
paper, the set up of the child's school supplies and workspace,
grooming, dressing and hygiene skills, or any other aspect of the
child's life, the most probable outcome will be a disorganized mess.
This results from the ADD child's impulsivity (jumping at any
solution), distractibility (stopping in the middle of any activity),
hyperactivity (pulling out and tearing apart everything in sight),
and inattention (they lose interest anyway!).
Mood Swings: With an ADD child, everything is always at extremes, and
their range of emotions is no different. In some cases, they can be
extremely domineering and controlling as they seek to gain attention
for themselves. In other cases, they can be unreachable, and no
amount of discipline or parental intervention seems to have an
effect. When an child with ADD is "stuck" in the emotions of the
moment, there seems to be no way for reasonable discussions to bypass
the emotional whirlwind in progress. ADD children can be described as
oppositional, stubborn, overly-dramatic, flighty, ecstatically happy
or excessively sensitive, just to name a few of the extremes
experienced by ADD children.
Poor Social Skills: Based on all of the issues discussed so far, it's
not surpising that ADD children don't fare well with peer
relationships. They speak and act impulsively, show off and dominate
conversations or class time, clown around at inappropriate times,
miss subtle social cues, may be physically clumsy and awkward, and
often irritate and annoy their peers in a thousand daily ways.
As a result of the symptoms and behaviors just described, the ADD
child encounters all too many difficulties in their young lives.
True ADD should not be considered a "phase" that will be outgrown.
Rather, parents and educators should seek all of the education and
knowledge they can find to help these kids flourish and succeed
throughout the elementary school years.
Jeanne Bauer is the author of the ADD to C3 Kids E-Booklets,
providing a fast, natural and healthy approach to ADD/ADHD. Find
more information at http://www.add-adhd-infoplus.com and
http://www.addtoc3kids.com. Copyright 2003 Dreamcatcher Net
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