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ADHD: The Basics

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, otherwise known as ADHD, has been diagnosed in 11% of children in the United States. Symptoms of ADHD include difficulty paying attention and controlling impulse behaviors, restlessness, disorganization and almost constant activity. These symptoms can get in the way of functioning or development. Although indications of ADHD begin in childhood, they can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. Anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have comparable warning signs. An ADHD diagnosis can be made by a mental health professional, primary care provider, or pediatrician.

Researchers still don’t know the exact cause of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health and National Institutes of Health believe that ADHD is linked to genetics, prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke, alcohol or drugs, exposure to environmental toxins, low birth weight, and/or brain injuries.

Much like the cause of ADHD, the cure is still elusive. However, available treatments may help reduce the symptoms and improve functioning. ADHD is most commonly treated with medication, education, therapy, or a combination of the former techniques.

Despite the contradicting idea of using stimulants to fight a hyperactivity disorder, it is the most effective known method. Researchers believe this could be because stimulants increase the brain chemical dopamine, which plays a large role in thinking and focus. Doctors may prescribe a non-stimulant to partner with a stimulant to increase its effectiveness. It is fascinating to note that although not approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration, anti-depressants are sometimes used to treat ADHD in adults. It is also worth mention that many times several different medications or dosages may be tried before finding the correct fit for a person. Anyone who is taking prescription medications must be monitored meticulously by their doctor.

As a childcare provider, it is important to understand the therapy, education and training aspect of treating and cooping with ADHD. There are many techniques a provider can use to help a child with ADHD stay organized and following directions. It is important to keep a routine, use a variety of organizational methods and give admiration when appropriate. I believe it is also vital for providers to make information about ADHD education and training available to parents, such as; parenting skills training, stress management techniques, and support groups. Public schools are required to offer educational specialists and accommodations to classrooms and assignments to help the child succeed. It is necessary for childcare centers to follow guidelines set forth by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in order to provide the best environment for all their pupils to grow and learn.


National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. <>.

"Data & Statistics." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. <>.



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