Parenting a restless and impulsive child can be extremely challenging, and it is not always easy to know where to turn for help.
Typical ADD/ADHD behaviours may include:
- tuning out
- trouble following instructions
- poor focus and attention
- easily distracted
- poor coordination, especially fine motor control
- poor spatial awareness
- interrupting others when speaking
- poorly controlled emotional reactions
- trouble sitting still
- fidgeting, tapping toes or fingers
- talking excessively
Then there are times when your impulsive child can seem totally focussed, fully absorbed in something, such as watching television, or playing video games. Blocking out all external sensory input from their environment, they can react in anger and frustration when interrupted.
Your ADD or ADHD child could be struggling to process sensory impressions, becoming easily overwhelmed in a busy environment. They might seem excessively “touchy”, or highly anxious, with a nervous system constantly in a high state of alert. Unable to self-regulate their emotions, they react impulsively, often to seemingly small stimuli.
Self esteem can be damaged as your child struggles to fit into a world full of confusion.
In the Classroom
Your child with signs of ADD or ADHD may struggle to concentrate and maintain focus in a busy classroom. They are often in trouble for being disruptive, talking or not paying attention. Often described as “attention seeking”, this child can be easily triggered. Sometimes just a tone of voice, or the general noise levels in the room, will cause them to feel overwhelmed.
In this state of overwhelm, the child’s survival instinct kicks in, shifting them to an automatic flight/fright or shutdown response. Restlessness often escalates as their anxiety increases. Their ability to take in and process sensory information is further impaired.
As a result, the child struggles to stay present, and “pay attention”. An authority figure in the room may react in frustration, inadvertently triggering the child’s fears, increasing their restlessness and anxiety.
The child is not choosing to be annoying. Rather, we can view the behaviour as a “cry for help”. It is telling us a story. Rather than asking the child to “try harder”, we need to understand the “why” of the behaviour.
Treatment does not always need to involve medication. Exploring these behaviours by “stepping into” your child’s world can help bring about a deeper understanding. You might like to explore interventions aimed at recovery by addressing underlying issues.
Offering a drug-free approach, I view ADD and ADHD as a description of behaviours, rather than as an illness. This approach involves identifying and addressing the reasons underlying the behaviours. I look for gaps or immaturities in early sensory and motor development. This is known as developmental delay. Then we work together to address the “gaps” and build the neural “superhighways”.
Children have a basic need for connection. The first step in therapy is to form a relationship with your child, accepting them for who they are. I also offer a place of safety and trust, where your child can feel free to express themselves.
A Family Issue
Of equal importance is supporting you as your child’s parents, helping you to build a closer relationship with your child. The aim is to build security and self esteem, fostering a connection through acceptance, helping your child to achieve to their individual potential.
My experience is that when immaturities in early development are addressed, a child ’s behaviour becomes much more in keeping with their chronological age. Positive attributes such as empathy and self-regulation develop naturally. We also see gains in academic achievement as your child’s ability to focus and pay attention improves