My cousin Alex had always been a rambunctious child ever since she was little. She loved to run around the house like a tornado - climbing furniture and throwing her toys. She could never seem to stay interested in one activity for too long.
Alex's restlessness and impatience was never too much of a concern though - her parents regarded her energy as an advantage for things like sports or dance.
However, when Alex got older and began going to school, both her teachers and her parents started to worry about Alex's difficulty focusing on schoolwork. She had a hard time sitting still in class, which affected her learning, and she had even more difficulty completing her homework.
Although she knew what was expected of her through repeated talks with adults, Alex was still unable to focus on the simplest tasks.
Alex was eventually diagnosed with ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 8%-10% of children from the ages of 13-18. Boys are 3-4 times more at risk than girls.
In order to be diagnosed, a child must exhibit longterm and more severe symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity.
These symptoms can also lead to other things like learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, which can affect other parts of a child's life.
Though there is no cure for ADHD, Treatment includes medications and/or psychotherapy, which can help control the symptoms.
Although ADHD isn't a very serious condition, it can have a great impact on family life.
"I had never been very close to someone with ADHD, so originally it was challenging for our family to cope with it. I'd often have to come in after school to speak with her teachers, and I'd have to stay up late working with her to complete assigned homework. Socially I could see her struggle more than her sister...
However, ADHD doesn't define her, and we don't in any way punish her for her behaviors. In fact, it is just the opposite - we offer her support in managing her symptoms and help guide her through potential difficulties. Alex has actually made us stronger as a family through greater encouragement and appreciation."
-Louise, Alex's mother
In addition to support, Louise has also discovered some tips to make things easier for Alex like creating schedules, setting up a reward system, and writing chore lists.
Alex's parents chose medication treatments to control the symptoms, and she is improving academically and socially. Alex turned 8 years old last week, is in 3rd grade, and loves to dance and paint.