ADHD and your toddler: A guide for Filipino parents
Learn how to spot the symptoms of ADHD in your toddler, and discover ways for dealing with it.
Nowadays, more and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Here we discuss how you can spot possible signs of ADHD in your child, and how you may help them.
Signs of ADHD in toddlers
- A toddler with ADHD will have difficulty finishing a task, even the simplest ones. A toddler’s attention span is short, to say the least, but someone with ADHD will be looking to the next task before even starting the present one. They don’t sit still for a short story or don’t have the attention span to help stir a bowl of cookie dough.
- A toddler with ADHD will likely have a more difficult time in following instructions and processing information to the extent others his/her age normally do.
- Toddlers with ADHD will often talk constantly just for the sake of talking. No, this doesn’t mean the toddler who is "makulit" or asks a million questions or repeatedly asks ‘why’ has ADHD. The child with ADHD will usually ramble on and on about whatever comes into his/her head and repeat things over and over.
- A toddler with ADHD will also be constantly on the move — "over sa likot," as we would say in the vernacular. Jumping on the bed or off the furniture, fidgeting, wiggling, playing with their food… they are simply incapable of sitting still.
NOTE: There is a difference between a toddler who can't sit still because he/she is excited to play outside and a toddler who can't sit still all the time.
- Children with ADHD are often the most creative and imaginative. Their thoughts are on rapid-fire mode and they want to act on all of them. They will often be the ones to think of wild stories to tell, draw pictures of imaginary animals and will be able to multi-task as they get older.
- Children with ADHD will hear what you say even though they seem to be in another universe.
A doctor’s diagnosis
Parents, take note: One of the worst things you can do is to self-diagnose your child.
While some children younger than age 7 have been diagnosed with ADHD, these cases are the exception to the rule.
The reason? It takes time to correctly diagnose ADHD, because the behaviors associated with this condition are evaluated over a period of time.
Doctors understand that when a toddler goes through a phase of hyperactivity it doesn’t necessarily mean they have ADHD. Generally, it means they’re just going through a phase, and that they’ll grow out of it.
Dr. Ben Martin, in his article, "How is ADHD Diagnosed?", says:
"The official diagnostic criteria for ADHD state that the symptoms must occur beyond the extent that is normal for the person’s age, and must occur in a variety of different situations (e.g., not just school). For a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms must also have appeared before the age of 7 (for childhood ADHD), and have continued for at least 6 months."
Thus, the best person to consult if you suspect your child has ADHD is still a medical professional — a pediatrician or psychologist.
Best treatment for ADHD
If your child has been officially diagnosed with ADHD, there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms, making your home a calmer, less intense place of activity. Here are some of them:
Alter the child’s diet
Eliminating processed foods with dyes and chemicals can help tremendously.
Our bodies were designed to run on fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products, so junk food should be an exceptional treat.
Children whose diet are monitored are often easier to manage, without the need for any medicinal measures.
Alter the child’s environment
Make sure they are not overly-stimulated with bright colors, loud music, fast-moving video games or television and other such things.
Encourage them to use their imagination. Providing a variety of hands-on activities to do at home will help as well.
Reward a child’s success
Giving tangible rewards for staying on task and exhibiting proper behavior encourages the child, and helps provide incentive.
Medicate as a last resort
There are times when the condition is so disruptive to a child’s ability to function and learn that medication is necessary. This should be done as a last result after all other options have been explored.
Always consult your doctor
It is always best to seek medical advice, especially since articles like this are and should not considered the basis for any diagnosis or treatment.
Your pediatrician will be able to provide you with more extensive information about children and ADHD, its diagnosis, ways to work with and around it, and how to help your child use their energy in a positive and constructive manner.
Article originally published on: theAsianparent.com
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