In the classroom there is always a child who is extremely busy and unable sit still. In a number of cases, these children can have ADHD. Despite the fact that they can’t help it, the behavior they display is often perceived as negative. There is misunderstanding among teachers and classmates, it is often thought that they are ‘annoying’ on purpose. Even as a parent of a child with ADHD, it is sometimes difficult to remain patient and make the right choices. How do you support your child? How do you deal with the symptoms of ADHD? In this blog we help you with practical information and tips about ADHD in children.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a developmental disorder. Other words commonly used for this condition are attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity (overactive). In children, this manifests itself mainly in restlessness, poor concentration, anger and impulsiveness.
Do you notice that your child mainly has trouble keeping his attention and concentration? Is your child often quiet and dreamy? This form is called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This type is more difficult to recognize because the symptoms are less obvious. Some children are only hyperactive and others just have poor concentration. Finally, there are also children with a combination of both.
Did you know that about 5 to 7% of all school-age children suffer from ADHD? That is an average of one child in each class.
Causes of ADHD in children
The most common cause of ADHD is a developmental disorder in your child. This can already happen during pregnancy or birth. Sometimes genetics also play a role. During growth it is important that the primitive reflexes develop well. This is essential for a baby to survive and forms an important foundation for later skills. It is therefore not very surprising that many children with ADHD have often been ‘cry babies’ (a child who baby who cries more than 2 hours per day).
If the primitive reflexes remain active, the nervous system does not work optimally. This affects the development of subsequent postural reflexes (learning to sit, get up, walk, talk). If the base is not right, this will have consequences for later. It is therefore very important to have your children checked by a chiropractor from an early age.
Behavioral problems due to ADHD
Children with ADHD often react differently to stimuli. For example, they can quickly overreact to stressful situations such as a fight in the family or at school. Things that are effortless for other children are a big challenge for children with ADHD. Sit neatly, listen carefully or make an assignment, for example. Unfortunately, these children are often seen as difficult, busy, less smart and uninterested, while they can do nothing about it themselves. This can cause problems such as fear of failure and poor self-image. Compensatory behavior is also common. Your child tries to hide his ‘failure’, which often leads to hyperactivity, dominance and showing off. The opposite can also happen, your child then becomes very calm and shows almost autistic behavior. All that compensatory behavior is extremely tiring for a child, which in turn causes other problems. It’s a vicious circle.
Symptoms of ADHD in children
The symptoms of ADHD become especially apparent through problems at school, at home and with boyfriends / girlfriends. The symptoms are often present for more than six months and have a negative effect on your child’s functioning and performance. You recognize ADHD by:
- low motivation
- difficulty paying attention / dreamy
- sitting still is difficult
- making careless mistakes
- often talking over others
- restless movement of hands and/or feet
- working on several things at the same time
- often lose things or forgetful
- poor performance in school
- strong reactions to stress or changes
- lack of social skills
More than half of all children with ADHD also suffer from defiance, depression or excessive anxiety. About 25% suffer from learning disabilities related to language, communication or movement. Is your child very busy or are there other behavioral problems? That does not immediately mean that this is ADHD. It is important to take a good look at your child’s emotional development, perhaps it issomething else is going on.
ADHD and primary/primitive reflexes
The main cause of ADHD lies in the improper development of the primary reflexes. From an early age we develop reflexes, such as the sucking or grasping reflex. Reflexes help with proper and healthy development. The brain transmits the signals to the muscles via the nervous system. The body actually learns step by step how everything works. Due to a malfunction in the development of the nervous system, some primary reflexes remain (partially) uncontrolled. This can manifest itself physically, emotionally, socially or mentally and cause problems such as:
– fear or panic
– sleeping problems
– learning and concentration problems
– tense muscles
– information processing problems such as ADHD, dyslexia and autism
Causes of this type of malfunction are, for example, difficult deliveries, stress during pregnancy or other violent events. The nervous system is like the electricity of your house; if there is a malfunction somewhere, the message will not arrive (properly). With chiropractic we solve disturbances and blockages in the nervous system. The self-healing capacity of our body then ensures that the signals come through properly and complaints disappear.
ADHD and chronic hyperventilation
Studies have shown that there is a relationship between ADHD and chronic hyperventilation. An incorrect breathing pattern can cause physical and psychological complaints such as fatigue, depression and concentration disorders. If your child breathes through his or her mouth – especially at night – this causes a disturbance in breathing. The mouth is not intended for this. Breathing through the mouth also has negative effects on the jaw, teeth and speech. It is good to examine how your child breathes and possibly do breathing and relaxation exercises.
Tips for children with ADHD
Would you like to know how you can help children with ADHD and reduce the symptoms? We give you five tips:
1. Regularity and structure
In your child’s head it is often chaos. Give more peace by building in structure; keep regular times for eating, exercising, relaxing and going to bed. Discuss with your child which moments they find most difficult.
2. Focus on the good things
Did you know that children with ADHD are often very creative and resourceful? They also come up with great stories or get completely absorbed in what they like. They often pay attention to details and have strong empathy. Focus on the things your child can do well, for an extra bit of self-confidence.
3. Choose the right food
Children with ADHD are often very busy themselves. Sugars and carbohydrates enhance that effect because they provide a lot of fast energy. Your child then completely turns into an uncontrollable bouncing ball. Choose a whole-foods diet with meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains as much as possible. Avoid seed oils, packaged foods with additives, colourings or e-numbers. Get tested for parasites, gluten intolerance or dairy intolerance.
4. Reward for good behavior
It takes some patience, but rewards work better than punishments. After all, your child can do nothing about it. For example, reward with a loving hug, compliment or with something that makes your child happy, such as playing a game or a sticker. Do this several times a day for best results.
5. Let your child move a lot
Find a sport or activity where your child can move a lot. Take a long walk together or come up with some chores around the house. Keep it simple and explain it clearly. This way they can release their energy in a natural way.
Chiropractic and ADHD in children
Does your child have ADHD and are you looking for a solution without medication? With chiropractic treatments we restore balance in the body. This helps reduce the symptoms of ADHD so that your child performs better at school and shows less ‘problem behaviour’. Knowing more? Make an appointment for an initial consultation. You do not need a referral from your GP for this.