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María Jesús Ordóñez, a Primary Care pediatrician, and Roberto Álvarez-Higuera, businessman and editor, are the parents of a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The diagnosis came very late, when her son was 14 years old. Like them, many parents find themselves in the same situation. For this reason, they decided to write the book You are not alone, where a hopeful testimony about ADHD is collected. Based on your experience as parents:
Many parents wonder after what age a child can be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The pediatrician says that up to 6 or 7 years it is usually expected to make a reliable diagnosis because it is considered that many of the symptoms that these children may present, who are too moved or very impulsive, fall within normality. However, there are very clear cases that can be diagnosed earlier and children who even start treatment before that age.
The behavior and the deterioration that occurs at a family level with their behavior, above all, can make parents suspect that their child has attention deficit or is hyperactive. The characteristics of this disease are attention deficit, which is reflected in that they are forgetful and absent-minded, impulsivity, which they demonstrate when saying the first thing that comes to mind without thinking about the consequences, and hyperactivity, which they manifest with that movement constant, and that is what sounds to everyone because they are children who do not stop. All affected children do not present all three characteristics at the same time, although the most common is the combined type. Attention deficit without hyperactivity is more common in girls. It seems that they are always in their things and, therefore, they go more unnoticed.
Until 6 or 7 years, you have to wait because they can enter within the normal. But if they pass that age and continue to deteriorate the family environment because they do not stop, they hit, they do not know how to be still, they hum, they get up, they answer before you finish asking ... we may be in front of a hyperactive child. On the other hand, a child who is moved, but carries out his studies well, does not have problems at home or with his friends cannot be classified as a ADHD.
When it comes to education, school, etc., hyperactive children have difficulties on many levels. Up to 70 percent of ADHD cases are associated with learning disorders such as dyslexia. Those who do not have associated problems, due to their attention deficit, lose things or forget to have an exam. Due to their impulsiveness, they do not take turns, they are difficult playmates, and sometimes they are annoying children in class. As this happens every day, situations greatly deteriorate their self-esteem and there comes a time when they believe that everything is wrong. And as a consequence of their hyperactivity, they do not stand still, they make noise in class when everyone is silent, they destroy anything you put in their hands or they get up when everyone is seated and this generates tension due to lack of discipline.
It is known that both punishment and repeating a grade is counterproductive. Our son was constantly punished and, it is a behavior in the parents, that falls within the logic. If a child arrives with bad school and behavioral results, and wants to play Play, you tell him you are out of Play or without going out with your friends. In the end, parents and children enter a vicious circle that fosters the isolation of the child and the deterioration of their self-esteem. Punishment is counterproductive and we must transform it by instilling in it guidelines, norms and limits using different techniques according to their age. The most important job of parents knowing how to value the good they do and tell them.
With children who have ADHD, you have to work with a multidisciplinary treatment. Apart from medical treatment, there must be psychosocial support for them both at home and at school. Setting a series of guidelines and norms for them helps them organize and see some order in their lives. Today, the medical treatment of choice is stimulant drugs, which are safe and provide great benefits. They have side effects like any drug and do not cause addiction, on the contrary, it is proven that they protect against addiction to other substances. A child with untreated ADHD has a 52 percent chance of ending up with a drug addiction, while if he is treated this risk drops to 27 percent. There are also other non-stimulant drug alternatives for children who do not tolerate medication well, but they should always be evaluated by their specialist.
We believe that our biggest mistake was waiting too long to reach the diagnosis. The book we have written is the book we would have liked to read when we found out what was wrong with our son. If we had read it much earlier, it would have explained many things that we did not understand. We are talking about families that are devastated. The divorce rate in these families is multiplied by five. The important thing is to know what you are up against and work on it. Information and our experience is what we want to convey.
If we recognize our logos, they would be our child, our family. The personal satisfaction of having found the solution to so many troubles and suffering. If we can help others not to go through it, with our testimony of hope, with this book, we will be satisfied.
You can read more articles similar to Infant hyperactivity. Interview with Mª Jesús Ordóñez and Roberto Álvarez, in the category of hyperactivity and attention deficit on site.