Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder is a common problem among children and can make parenting even more of a challenge. ADHD Richmond provides support and advice on all aspects of dealing with ADHD. Their website has up-to-date news on events and courses, as well as guidelines on what ADHD is and funding available to help families and individuals dealing with the condition. They answer any questions you could have, and provide you with contacts for anything they are not able to deal with directly.
What is ADHD?
ADHD manifests itself as inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and impaired executive functions. As a result, people with ADHD can become frustrated and angry, unable to control their reactions and emotions. The medical cause of ADHD is believed to be a lack of the chemical dopamine, found in the brain, which is responsible for keeping you emotionally balanced. The disorder is commonly associated with other conditions such as autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, anxiety, and epilepsy.
Getting a Diagnosis
ADHD Richmond advise that if you believe your child is suffering from ADHD, you discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher, the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), your GP, or your health visitor. The first port of call for diagnosis in Richmond is the Single Point of Access. More information on this can be found at www.richmond.gov.uk/single_point_of_access or you can call 020 8891 7969 (out of hours number 020 8870 5000).
During the diagnosis process, your child will be seen by a child psychiatrist or specialist paediatrician who will do an assessment. Once a diagnosis has been reached, you will be able to access support such as school support, disability-related funding, and possible medication. Should a diagnosis of ADHD not be reached, there is still support available from your GP, your child’s school, and your health visitor in dealing with your child’s behavioural or learning difficulties.
Treatment of ADHD
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, help will be needed in all areas where the condition causes problems, including at home, in school, in friendships, and in the community. Everyone who is involved with the child, including parents, teachers, and professionals, will need to be made aware of the diagnosis and what it means, as well as the management strategies that are being put in place. As the child gets older, they will also need to fully understand their condition and how to cope with it themselves.
Treatment of the condition can vary, but includes:
Exercise – This has been shown to have the most positive impact, even if your child only gets about half hour’s exercise per day. Although exercise does not completely dispel all of the problems associated with ADHD, it is an effective way of releasing excess energy, resulting in better functioning and more positive feelings.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – A talking therapy which tries to change the way a person thinks and behaves. This is a difficult type of treatment in children with ADHD and can be difficult to access.
Counselling and Psychotherapy – This can help with emotional problems related to ADHD, such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Medication – ADHD is often treated with a stimulant medication which can help bring dopamine levels in the brain back to normal, thereby allowing the sufferer to manage their emotions and reactions more effectively.
Some people may also try homeopathy, herbal medicine, or music therapy, as well as a variety of other techniques all of which are discussed in further detail in the ADHD Richmond Handbook.
Parenting and ADHD
ADHD Richmond provides in-depth advice and guidance on dealing with ADHD as a parent. They recommend in particular parenting courses provided by 123 Magic for parents of children aged between 2-13 years. The courses are free to attend and help parents understand how their child may feel having the condition.
Support is also available from the Richmond Carers Centre, which provides 12 week free one-to-one counselling, and the Richmond Wellbeing Service which helps anyone who is suffering from emotional or stress-related problems through counselling, workshops, and courses. You may also be interested in Richmond’s free health improvement service, Live Well Richmond, which provides information and advice on leading a healthy lifestyle.
In-depth information on everything discussed here can be found in ADHD Richmond’s Handbook guide to ADHD. If you have any concerns, or suspect your child may be suffering from ADHD, speak to your GP or health visitor, or contact ADHD Richmond today.