Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder

Why is my child acting so crazy?

Is your toddler running from one toy to another without giving herself enough time to explore the toy meaningfully?
Is your child easily distracted? Does she interrupt her activities frequently?
Is she forgetful about her daily tasks and responsibilities?
Is he hypersensitive and impulsive?
Does she have difficulties with self-control?
Does he lie excessively?

All of these behaviors are symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is only a label and your child's specific characteristics will differ dramatically from those of another child with ADHD.

In general a child with ADHD struggles with her daily tasks (frequently, despite being very bright), due to her difficulties with sustaining concentration. Many ADHD children can concentrate fully for a short period of time but then easily become overwhelmed and have to interrupt their tasks. Returning to their tasks and completing them often feels daunting. Anxiety or depression frequently accompanies ADHDers as those children struggle to complete their daily routine, remember bring their lunch to school and be on time for their classes.

Sustaining attention for a full class period is often overwhelming, and so is following complicated social games and interactions.

ADHD children are often impulsive and appear to overreact and loose self-control over minor, not worthy, incidents. General sense of being overwhelmed frequently contributes to their frustration, making them especially prone to fits and tantrums. Even without being frustrated, an ADHD child may act impulsively and unreasonably. For example, an ADHD child may get up and start walking during a class period.  She may exhibit unprovoked screaming and crying. She can lie excessively and unnaturally to provide explanations for her misdeeds.  She frequently confuses her imagination with reality.

While those behaviors are difficult for parents and teachers, they are even more difficult for the child. A child's academic success and social experiences are often affected by her ADHD symptoms. Her interactions with family members often become paralyzed as the parents feel overwhelmed and helpless in their attempts to control and manage an ADHD child. The child frequently becomes depressed and fearful.

How can a child psychologist help?

During the course of therapy, I will teach you and your child (depending on the age) a set of Relaxation Techniques which should help her regain self-control and exit an overwhelming or difficult situation without a tantrum. A Narrative Therapy is often used to help your child talk about her feelings and express herself through language. With your child's permission, her narrations will be shared with you to help you get an insight about your child's inner experiences. Play Therapy is very effective in assisting your child to cope with emotional stressors.  Finally, a consistent and clear Behavioral Intervention with a clear system of reinforcements will be designed and shared with you to regulate and control your child's behavior. When working with ADHD children, it is important that parents stick to the Behavioral Schedule and that clear and coherent behavioral rules are enforced consistently.  As usual, the specific treatment course will be developed following a careful assessment, so that the intervention is carefully calibrated for your child's unique profile.