Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


I’m not a doctor, so I can’t comment on this subject professionally, but I did browse many websites for information and, because all of my grandchildren suffer with ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), I have certainly had experience dealing with it.

ADD/ADHD can cause children (or adults) to be inattentive, impulsive and/or hyperactive above and beyond what is considered by those in the medical field to be “normal”. ADD/ADHD can negatively affect your child’s learning, interaction with teachers, classmates and friends, and their social interactions as a whole.

There are several ways to combat ADD/ADHD. First it’s important to recognize the symptoms in your child. Is he/she more likely to blurt out comments or interrupt other inappropriately? Does he/she squirm or fidget in their seat as if never able to keep still? Have they been labelled as lazy, or out of control? Does he/she seem inattentive or excessively daydreaming? Does he/she show these signs in all areas of life – school, home, and at play? If so, a discussion with your family doctor would be a good first step. He/she will want to rule out other possibilities, such as: A medical condition; Traumatic event(s) which could be causing undue stress; Learning disabilities; Depression, or a Behavioural disorder. Then, if he/she decides there is a possibility your child has the symptoms, you will probably be referred to a consultant who specializes in the disorder.

Apparently, this disorder starts before the child is seven years of age, but not all kids with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive but can be inattentive and appear as if daydreaming. Because children with the disorder find it difficult to stay on task, they might appear disorganized. Plus a noisy disruptive environment makes it harder for them to stay focused as opposed to a quiet, calm surrounding.

Some of the signs of ADD/ADHD I found listed on the Internet:

The inattentive child often:

  • Appears not to hear or listen when spoken to.
  • Has trouble paying attention to detail.
  • Gets quickly bored with activities.
  • Often misplaces things, forgetting where he/she put them.
  • Makes careless mistakes without realizing.
  • Has trouble finishing projects.
  • Is very easily distracted.
  • Is impulsive, calling out or interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Has difficulty following instructions and carrying them out.

The hyperactive child often:

  • Fidgets or squirms in their seat, unable to keep still.
  • Often leaves seat at an inappropriate time.
  • Be impulsive and lash out verbally or physically.
  • Runs and climbs objects that other children wouldn’t climb.
  • Talks non-stop.
  • Has trouble relaxing, wants to always be moving.
  • Can’t relax.

The impulsive child often:

  • Invades others’ space.
  • Interrupt others’ conversations.
  • Be un-diplomatic.
  • Ask irrelevant questions during an ongoing conversation.
  • Ask very personal questions or ridicule others’ personal behaviours.
  • Are prone to moodiness or aggressive behaviour.
  • Can’t take turns or wait in line.
  • Is subject to tantrums or outbursts.
  • Can’t take time to find solutions to problems.

It’s imperative this disorder be treated for, if left unchecked, it can cause many struggles in the child’s life, especially in adulthood. Children with ADD/ADHD often get into trouble at school and in the neighbourhood. Because of their disorder they find it difficult to make friends causing them to feel lonely or rejected.

If you do receive a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, you can work with your doctor to provide a personalized treatment plan that meets your child’s specific needs. Effective treatment for childhood ADD/ADHD includes behavioural therapy, parent education, social support, and assistance at school. Medication may also be used, but should never be the sole treatment.

As a grandparent raising grandchildren with ADD/ADHD, due to their “controlling” nature, life can become frustrating. I have found consistency, organized habits, structure, praise, rewards and consequences, and concise communication are all key to keeping control. I also discovered that solid communication with the children’s school helped keep us all on the “same page” so they knew the rules would be the same in both situations and not become confused.

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