An ADHD Brain Is Different.

ADHD can be difficult and leave parents and teachers feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling like nothing seems to work.

Often, ADHD children are seen as “troubled.” But the truth is, an ADHD brain is just different. Those with ADHD have an executive functioning system in the brain that doesn’t work exactly the way others’ do, meaning they require a different approach.

What Is ADHD, Exactly?

“ADHD is a neuro-biological developmental disorder of the brain’s executive functioning system located in the prefrontal cortex.”

Dr. David M. Pratt

Children often have difficulties in the classroom because those with a diagnosis of ADHD tend to move around and sometimes talk to other kids in the room. This is when the behaviors are noticed and discussed with the parents. However, that’s not always the case. Children may act one way at school and a different way at home so ADHD symptoms can easily be missed.

ADHD in children presents with:

  • Lack of motivation – children tend to hyperfocus on tasks of interest (that typically is not homework).
  • Hyperactivity/Impulsive
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Impulsivity (quickly makes decisions without thinking through the situation).
  • Difficulty controlling emotions.

Is It ADHD or Something Else?

According to US Department of Health and Human Services, another reason children often talk in class and become disruptive is due to a possible learning disability such as:

  • Dyslexia. People with dyslexia have problems with reading words accurately and with ease (sometimes called “fluency”) and may have a hard time spelling, understanding sentences, and recognizing words they already know.
  • Dysgraphia. People with dysgraphia have problems with their handwriting. They may have trouble forming letters, writing within a defined space, and writing down their thoughts.
  • Dyscalculia. People with this math learning disability may have difficulty understanding arithmetic concepts and doing addition, multiplication, and measuring.
  • Apraxia of speech. This disorder involves problems with speaking. People with this disorder have trouble saying what they want to say. It is sometimes called verbal apraxia.
  • Central auditory processing disorder. People with this condition have trouble understanding and remembering language-related tasks. They have difficulty explaining things, understanding jokes, and following directions. They confuse words and are easily distracted.
  • Nonverbal learning disorders. People with these conditions have strong verbal skills but difficulty understanding facial expression and body language. They are clumsy and have trouble generalizing and following multistep directions.

Because there are many different types of learning disabilities, and some people may have more than one, it is hard to estimate how many people might have learning disabilities.

Tips to help children with ADHD

  • Children need to be interdependent with another person to assist in co-regulation. There needs to be trust and safety for this step to occur.
  • Allow the child to be part of any process of change because they need to express what works best for them. For example, creating a weekly schedule together for what the child needs to do such as scheduling times for homework, video game time, and outdoor play.
  • Children need to feel safe and secure to collaborate with an adult to figure something out for themselves. This provides the child ownership over making some decisions. When you allow that for the child and it doesn’t work out, there is a natural consequence which allows the child to know what works and does not work for them.

“Every time the stress goes up, executive functioning goes down.”

When a child or adult becomes angry and frustrated, one way to reduce the emotional dysregulation is to:

  • Hold hands under cold water.
  • Hold ice in the hands when emotionally upset.
  • Drink a full glass of water.
  • Tell themselves positive affirmations.

ADHD, Self-Harm, and Suicide

Henry Shelford, Chairperson and co-founder of ADHD UK, says that “recent research shows adults with ADHD are 5 times more likely than those without to have attempted suicide (14% vs 2.7%).”

If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 988. You can also text TALK to 741741 or scan the QR code on this image.

Are You or Your Child Suffering With ADHD?

I have years of experience working with children and ADHD specifically. I can guide you through this stigmatized and often-confusing diagnosis, giving you or your child a sense of understanding and eventually, mastery over it.

Please reach out today, and allow me to help you better understand this diagnosis.