Tag Archive | "children with special needs"

Myths and Facts About ADHD In Children

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also known as ADHD is a condition that affects millions of children worldwide. It has been a subject of constant debate for many years and there are plenty of myths and facts that surround this topic. This article will give you a better idea of what ADHD in children is really all about.

Myth # 1: Children can outgrow ADHD.

Fact: In most cases, children do not outgrow ADHD especially when left untreated. However, studies show that early intervention (therapy, a structured environment plus medication) can help reduce the symptoms gradually. But, early intervention cannot completely eliminate the condition. A child’s hyperactivity and impulsive tendencies may be gone when he reaches his teenage years but the inattentiveness remains.

Myth # 2: There is no known cause of ADHD.

Fact: It is true that the exact cause of ADHD is still unknown, although experts suggest that ADHD is hereditary. If one or both parents of a toddler are diagnosed with this condition, there is a 70% chance that the toddler will have it too. Other causes include – exposure to lead, pesticides, smoke, alcohol and drugs (during pregnancy). Although many parents believe that eating too much sugar and junk food can cause ADHD, there is no evidence that food additives can increase higher activity levels.

Myth # 3: ADHD only affects boys.

Fact: There is no proof that boys are more likely to be affected. However, detecting ADHD is easier on boys since girls are only diagnosed with ADHD later in life, particularly once they start elementary.

Myth # 4: Toddlers with ADHD are not as smart as toddlers without the condition.

Fact: A toddler with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder develops certain parts of the brain 3 years later than those without ADHD. Hence, it is trickier to teach a child with ADHD because he has difficulty focusing long enough for the information to sink in. The child may also have trouble remembering and writing words. But, this does not mean he is lazy or less intelligent. In fact, it is believed that many famous people have ADHD.

Myth # 5: ADHD is a result of bad parenting.

Fact: ADHD is a biological disorder. Poor parenting skills are not liable for causing ADHD in children. But sadly, a lot of parents blame themselves as the reason why their children are diagnosed with such condition.

Myth # 6: ADHD medications are ineffective.

Fact: Majority of children with ADHD respond well to stimulant medication combined with forms of behavioural therapy. This medicine turns on neurotransmitters in the brain that control attention and impulsiveness.

Myth # 7: ADHD medications are dangerous.

Fact: Stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are proven to be safe for children. It is also not true that children under ADHD medications are more at risk to take drugs as teenagers. In addition, the side effects of these medications can be reduced by doctors by lowering the dosage or switching to another brand.

The first step to understanding ADHD in children is separating fact from fiction. Use this information to serve as your guide.

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Increasing The Attention Span of Children With ADHD

Toddlers are hyperactive. Thus, they have a difficult time paying attention, especially children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Here are some simple steps you can follow to help build your toddler’s attention.

Establish A Routine

Toddlers with ADHD thrive on consistency. The more they know what to anticipate, the better they can follow. When giving your toddler instructions, make eye contact, talk clearly and keep your words short. Have him repeat the instructions out loud to ensure he understands what you expect from him. Creating a chart of his daily routine saying “Take a bath”, “Brush teeth”, “Eat breakfast”, “Reading time” and so on will help remind your toddler of what he has to do.

Focus On An Activity Your Toddler Enjoys

What activity does your toddler enjoy the most? If your toddler loves to sing, play catchy children’s songs and sing together. If he likes to read, read more often. If he enjoys role playing, get down on the floor and pretend play along with him. Whatever the activity, try to spend at least 15 minutes each day with your toddler without disruptions. This will help him focus more, minimizing the urge to get up to do something else.

Create A Special Place         

It can be his play area or your living room. Make sure that his special place is free from distractions such as the computer, television and toys. Having too many things going on around your little one can overwhelm him, preventing him from concentrating on one activity. Instead, supply this place with educational items such as papers, pencils, markers, crayons, puzzles, etc. Playing soft music on the background also helps improve his sensory integration skills. Allot regular breaks so he can eat, rest, take a nap or move around.

Read A Lot

Reading requires attention. The key to catching your toddler’s attention is to read short, colorful books or interactive books (e.g. books with flaps). Also, try not to talk after every sentence. This will cause more disruption. Talk about the book once you are done reading.

Limit TV Viewing

Is your little one more active after watching TV? If so, lessen the time he spends in front of a screen. Watching too much TV not only decreases his attention span but it also negative affects his mind and health. In addition, make sure to always screen the programs first if he does watch TV. Choose shows that tell a story (e.g. children’s shows) rather than shows with a fast pace (e.g. action movies).

Teach Your Toddler To Relax

A toddler with ADHD needs to learn how to relax. A calm child will be able to focus more and extend his attention span. Go outside, take a walk and let him inhale the fresh air. Give him a rubber item he can squeeze. Listen to classical music. Talk. Tell a story. Do activities that will surely keep your toddler laughing.

Most importantly, be there for your toddler. Praise him when he sticks to his rules or each time he completes a task. Punishing him will only create feelings of humiliation and low self-esteem which will only worsen his ADHD.

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Toddler Development - Helping Children With Special Needs

A toddler that needs special care need not be treated like a handicap. With a little help, learning basic skills and getting proper toddler development can be achieved. All it takes is your guidance to help him build self-confidence to give him the freedom he needs to properly advance.

Choose A Skill Your Toddler Can Work On

If your toddler requires special care and attention, it is important for you to teach him basic self-help skills. Select the easy ones first as your toddler can be easily overwhelmed. You can choose to train your toddler how to brush his teeth, dress on his own, tie his shoelaces or eat by himself. Remember to practice a single ability first, never teach him two skills at the same time since this will only confuse him. Together, practice the skill slowly. Just take it one step at a time and never pressure your toddler to perfect it instantly. Show your toddler proper execution. Encourage him to carefully observe you do the skill before you let him demonstrate it on his own.

Create A Step By Step Plan

Since toddler’s with special needs function and comprehend slower than normal children, it is best to teach him in a step by step manner. If you are trying to train your toddler how to make his own bed, break down the tasks into steps (arranging the pillows, folding the blanket, straightening the bed sheet and placing the comforter) and draw a chart. Have him put a check mark on every task he has accomplished. In this way, your toddler feels a sense of accomplishment which ultimately encourages him to do much better next time.

Maximize Play Time

Playing is the way young toddlers learn. Having ample play time is essential to early childhood development regardless of your toddler’s special needs. Allow your toddler to do the activities he likes. Let him run around your backyard, play with kids his age in your neighborhood’s playground or doddle whole afternoon. The more your toddler gets to play, the faster he can learn things on his own. Plus, the exposure he gets from playing is perfect for boosting social interaction and is an excellent start to make friends.

Music Therapy

Studies have shown that music is an excellent remedy for toddlers who have difficulty hearing, moving, responding, seeing or thinking. Play different kinds of music, from nursery rhymes, interactive songs to classical, jazz and ballad. It is entertaining, motivating and it permits your toddler to productively express his anger, stress and depression. The stimulation it gives increases his cognitive development which helps fine tune your toddler’s fine motor and motor skills, dexterity, eloquence and self-alertness.

Give Constant Affirmation

Sometimes, a toddler with special needs long for security. Increase cuddle moments. Kiss, hug, pat and smile together. Use positive and soothing words. Constantly credit your little one even with the littlest things. Comment on how he looks so handsome in his button down polo and khaki shorts ensemble, his new haircut or his drawings. Affirmations serve as building blocks which inspires your toddler to nurture his abilities inspite of his condition.

Praise and Challenge

The best way you can help boost your toddler’s development is to give positive reinforcement for every job well done. Say for example you are teaching him the alphabet, commend him whether he memorizes it flawlessly or with errors. After which, challenge him to do it again until he perfects it. By repeating the action, he is able to retain his learning’s and be more aware of his mistakes.

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