JOPLIN, Mo. — Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects more than 17-million people in the United States alone.
With October being ADHD Awareness Month, a local organization is working to educate people on the facts — and dispel some of the myths surrounding this disorder.
Sherri Bryant, Licensed Professional Counselor, Will’s Place, said, “ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and really what it means is that for some children, it’s a matter of not being able to stay focused, concentrate, they fidget a lot.”
For someone with ADHD, it’s more than just having trouble staying focused.
“Sometimes people just think kids are misbehaving or that they’re choosing to not pay attention and sometimes it’s really just beyond their control.”
According to the A.D.D. Resource Center, 7 is the average age a child is diagnosed with ADHD in the United States. So what do parents need to look out for?
“They lose things that are like necessary for completing a task, they interrupt, they have a hard time staying in their seat, waiting their turn, can’t focus enough to read a book, sit still and watch a movie all the way through.”
Bryant says ADHD can continue into adulthood, but the combination of medication and learning the right coping skills can make a big difference.
“Medication management is usually the first line with ADHD and they can even see their primary care physician for ADHD medication.”
Playing games that require focusing helps too.
“If I’m playing Connect Four, cause I also use that for like thinking ahead and making good decisions. I will say, ‘Hold on, lets take a few seconds to look over the whole board before you make a decision,’ and teaching impulse control skills, stop, do a relaxation technique, think about what are my options, is the choice I’m about to make a good one or a bad one, and then what are my other options, and then pick the best option and go that way.”
If you believe your child is showing symptoms of ADHD, Bryant says it’s best to reach out to a physician or counselor to be sure.
“So it’s important to be able to tell the difference between a child who’s just a really busy kid versus one who really cannot slow down.”