As of 2011 11% of 4-17 year olds were reportedly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). That’s about 1 of every 9 school age children. Here’s the surprising part: it’s likely that the estimate is low. This is because historically, referral for diagnosis and treatment has been directed to the overtly hyperactive child and often missed the less noticeable inattentive or easily distracted child.
ADHD is a brain-based condition that has a strong genetic influence
Researchers who study it use different types of brain imaging to study how the brain functions. The most current research on ADHD confirms that the condition appears to be at least partly attributed to differences in how the brain is structured. This means that symptoms that look like laziness, sloppiness or forgetfulness are more likely due to the brains structural differences.
Why is this important? Because once it’s discovered, so much can be done to reverse the problems it causes. When new skills are taught with the brain differences in mind, problems improve because learning can be reinforced effectively. Here’s the best part: brain researchers now know that many aspects of the brain can be altered (or are "plastic") even into adulthood. So you can teach old dogs new tricks, they just have to be taught the right way!
If you have a child who you know is bright but just isn’t meeting his or her true academic potential, it could be due to the neurological differences in the ADHD brain. If you have a daughter who seems to be overly sensitive to the smallest criticism, or seems preoccupied with daydreaming or has even harmed herself in a fit of angry rage, it could be undiagnosed ADHD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for ADHD
It can help families learn new ways to solve problems so that everyone can realize their full human potential. Outcomes are especially good when CBT is used in conjunction with medication therapy. Understanding the difference in ADHD neurology is key to overcoming the challenges that the neurology can bring. Don’t forget that many of the world’s most successful and creative people are known to have ADHD, proof that living well with ADHD is possible.