As the new academic year approaches, it’s time to explore avenues…
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
ADD: How does it affect my child at school and how can I treat it?
What is it?
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a subtype of ADHD which can be characterized as a disorder through which an individual demonstrates a predominantly inattentive presentation. While officially labelled as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) (abbreviated for attention deficit disorder) varies from the other subtypes of ADHD in that hyperactivity does not present in individuals who suffer from ADD. These individuals are typically described as living in a daydream or “spacey” in misdemeanour. Although Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a medical condition, the symptoms are often recognized falsely as personality characteristics as laziness or indifference. ADD is often far less likely to be recognized in comparison to the more reactive or impulsive subtypes of ADHD.
The following symptoms can manifest in individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD):
- Difficulty sustaining attention to academic and/or other tasks
- Inability to follow complex instructions
- Effortful organization of tasks
- Impaired memory skills
- Task avoidance, particularly when presented with activities requiring attention for lengthy periods of time or which required sustained mental effort
- Failure to complete tasks once initiated
- Appears to daydream when spoken to directly
Impact on schoolwork
Children suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can meet a variety of challenges in their school careers. This disorder affects their ability to complete academic tasks due to making careless mistakes in written activities. Their lack of focus often results in them often missing important instructions presented by the teacher. Poor listening skills can affect the child’s success within the classroom both on an immediate and delayed level. Distractibility can result in frequent off-task behaviour which interferes with the child’s ability to follow through on both individual tasks as well as continuous participation in group projects. The inability to shift attention sufficiently affects individual tasks when children cannot return to the task at hand after having their attention drawn to a secondary instruction or potential distraction in the classroom. Poor organizational skills can affect the successful planning and carry out of written tasks and practical projects. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) also presents with insufficient working memory skills in the classroom which affects a one’s ability to retain information for a long enough period so as to use it effectively. This can have a direct impact on the child’s ability to following instructions as well as affecting the development of reading and math skills.
Impact on social interactions
Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can demonstrate difficulty in forming successful and meaningful social interactions with their peers. An apathetic demeanour can serve as an indication to others that the child is not interested in engaging in a conversation or a social game. Inattention within social interactions can lead to the inability to assess a social activity, self-monitor, and adjust behaviour accordingly. This can be especially observed in conversational exchanges with peers. Children with ADD often become distracted and misunderstand what their peers are saying both on a verbal and non-verbal level. When they do participate in conversational exchanges, disorganized thought patterns may result in erratic participation in conversational exchanges which do not meet the context of the interaction taking place. Additionally, poor planning skills attributed to children with ADD can result in their peers thinking that they cannot rely on them both in the academic setting (e.g. group projects) and on the playground. All of the above can lead to social isolation on the playground and within the classroom setting.
Treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Due to its silent nature, a common misconception amongst teachers is that their students suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are apathetic or uninterested in the material presented. As such, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or inattentive ADHD, has a tendency of going on for years without receiving appropriate diagnosis. Often many of the symptoms present before children reaching their school years. However, the diagnosis of the disorder is only ascertained once children reach school due to the increased expectations required in such a setting. Consequentially these children can go into the latter stage of their academic career suffering academically without addressing the underlying attention and memory issues. There are a variety of ways in which the symptoms of ADD can be treated:
- Diet/nutrition/supplements: Adequate nutrition focusing on a diet and/or supplements which consist of a healthy compromise of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, zinc and vitamins C and B6.
- Exercise: Including sufficient exercise routines into your child’s daily life. Attentional skills can be boosted by increased levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which are elevated through regular exercise.
- Behaviour therapy: This is a structure-based approach aimed at teaching children strategies to modify their behaviour by rewarding desired behaviour and eliminating actions or behaviours that are not desired.
At Catch Up Kids we aim to promote a child’s independence and success in the classroom setting by employing modified strategies of behavioural therapy in order to address challenges in areas of difficulty that children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) may exhibit such as attention, planning, emotional regulation skills, self-monitoring, social skills and more. The Catch Up Kids program is structured at an individualized level ensuring that your child’s program is designed to meet their needs and assist them to overcome personal challenges that they face in the classroom every day. In order to ensure that your child’s Catch Up kids program is addressing all of their needs, a comprehensive assessment is performed which compromises of a school observation as well as a workshop in which an individualized program is designed by your Catch Up supervisor. A team of Catch Up Kids tutors are assigned to your child to carry out extra lessons at a location that suits you. At Catch Up Kids we provide students with the assistance that they need to succeed whether it be during extra lessons or school facilitation within the classroom setting. In order to ensure ongoing progress, monthly workshops with your child’s tutoring team, teacher and/or school team are arranged. Catch Up Kids aims to work for your child to help them to overcome any and all challenges faced in the school setting.