Children are naturally active, especially at a young age. Running in the park, jumping on the trampoline and climbing trees are all considered as usual behaviours which should be welcomed to develop a child’s overall development. However, in some cases, the degree of activity may be considered as outside of the norm and can compromise a child’s ability to focus or concentrate, attend to or process information, follow instructions, make or maintain friendships or organise themselves and their environment. At this stage, it is common for parents or teachers to wonder whether the child has the neurological condition called ADHD.
ADHD is thought to effect 5.3% of the global population and studies suggest that it is on the rise in UK schools. Whereas it was previously thought that children grow out of ADHD, research suggests that 30-60% of people continue to experience significant symptoms well into adulthood. This can be more prevalent when children do not receive the specialist provision that they deserve. Unfortunately, recent news reports suggest that children with ADHD are not accessing this vital support. This is worrying, especially as approximately 60-80% of children also experience other conditions for example social communication disorder, language delay, autism, dyslexia or dyspraxia.
Having a child with ADHD can be incredibly challenging. Their behaviour may be seen by others as erratic and inappropriate, which can cause parents a lot of distress and frustration, especially when it seems like the society just doesn’t understand what you and your child are going through. You might be wondering how fine the line is between typically children and those with ADHD. Well, in some cases it’s very fine indeed but below are some pointers and how you can help.
Whereas every child is different and their symptoms of ADHD may manifest in different ways, here are some questions to ask yourself if you think your child may have ADHD:
Talk to the SENCO:
If you are noticing that your child is presenting with some or all of the symptoms above, one of the first things you can do is to talk to your school’s SENCo, if available. They may be able to shed some light on whether they are observing the same behaviours at school.
Speak to your local CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) here. Referrals are usually made by parents, teachers or the GP, and this may be a small stepping-stone to receiving the support that your child with ADHD deserves.
Many parents wonder whether medication will help their child with ADHD. It’s certainly a hot topic and some parents report that is has made a profound difference. Others, however, prefer to consider specialist interventions and strategies to help regulate their child with ADHD’s behaviour. Medication for children with ADHD is a personal preference, and the pros and cons should be considered very carefully. Whilst some believe that it’s essential and welcomed, for others it’s a last resort.
Talk to an ADHD coach or join a support group:
Especially useful for teenagers and adults, Stephanie Camilleri, the ‘ADHD advocate’ offers personalised online coaching to provide useful strategies and interventions to those with ADHD. As a person with ADHD herself, she really does have first-hand knowledge of how to support you. Soli, ‘The Yellow Sun’ runs a very active Facebook and support group. She is certainly worth speaking to if you are interested in having a network of supportive and understanding people around you, all whom are experiencing similar challenges.
Make learning fun and active:
Multi-sensory, hands-on and active learning works best for many children. Try to be creative at any age and use what you have at home to make learning and homework fun. How about converting your trampoline into a ‘Terrific Times-tables Trampoline’ like a SENsational Tutor did with one of their students.
Would your child benefit from:
We understand that learning environments for some children with ADHD can be incredibly challenging. When it comes to finding the right support for your child, finding someone who understands and has experience with working with children and young adults with ADHD is vital. Many specialist SENsational Tutors have experience working with children with ADHD. They recognise individual strengths, are creative and make learning fun! The SENsational Tutor will develop an understanding of your child’s requirements – academic, behaviour, language and communication, and sensory – and provide 1:1 sessions which are individually planned with their personal needs in mind. You will see your child smiling and laughing whilst they learn!
Daniel explains his teaching philosophy when working with students including those with ADHD:
I believe having a happy, engaged child that wants to learns is half the battle. It’s my job to get to know each individual child and understand what it is that interests them, excites them and makes them tick. I need to appreciate their strengths, areas for development and attitude to learning. It is only then that I can develop and deliver lesson that truly match their learning style, are fun and help them reach their true potential.
Daniel is a qualified SEN teacher with experience teaching students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, autism, dyslexia, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), sensory needs and other complex needs and behavioural difficulties. He explains his skills and experience:
“During the last 6 years I have taught a wide range or children with a variety of learning styles, Special Educational Needs, sensory and emotional needs, and behavioural challenges. I believe that my natural empathy, patience and personality allows me to build a solid, meaningful relationship with the children I teach quickly, gaining their trust, making them feel comfortable and confident, all of which are conducive in developing as both a child and a learner, and achieving their educational, behavioural and emotional goals.
Building on this foundation I am able to develop lessons that lend themselves to an individual’s learning style, ability and really embed learning through questioning and practical and tactile activities that are fun and engaging for the child.