Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

It is well-known that children are more active, distractible, and impulsive than adults. Therefore, it is not surprising that they experience more difficulties than adults when required to follow through on directions or complete chores with little supervision. So when parents or teachers complain that a child behaves impulsively and cannot seem to focus on the task at hand, others may be quick to dismiss these problems as part of normal development. Yet, the fact remains that the older children become, the more we expect them to do things independently that may be boring or effortful. For a child with a short attention span and limited impulse control, it is ill advised and potentially detrimental to his or her psychological and social well-being to downplay these problems or to chalk them up to maturity. Doing so could cause enduring problems with the child's academic, social, and emotional development. Children facing significant problems with inattention, over-activity, and lack of inhibition may reach a degree of severity that can be best explained by a developmental disability known as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is largely a biological disorder with a large genetic-hereditary basis; at least two genes for the disorder have been reliably identified. The genetic basis of this disorder is exemplified further by the fact that there is at least a 50% chance of an ADHD child having a biological parent with ADHD.

The basis for treatment surrounds understanding the neurological implications of ADHD (e.g., challenges delaying gratification to work longer and harder for larger rewards, challenges understanding the concept of time, issues with emotional regulation, challenges holding tasks in mind while working on them, overall organizational issues) and then designing accommodations and personal/parental strategies to bring about maximal success. We help parents and their children learn how to break larger tasks and activities down into smaller segments, provide more immediate rewards and consequences for desired behaviours, and utilize visuals and electronic technologies to ultimately facilitate increases in academic and chore completion, enhance listening skills, and promote more positive pro-social behaviours. Ultimately, we aim to teach clients and their support network about the cluster of symptoms associated with ADHD, and how to best overcome them to reach their potential.

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