Understanding ADHD in Children: Signs, Causes, and Therapy Options

June 15, 2023by Shari Markovich

It’s not easy being a parent, especially when you have to deal with the unique challenges of having a child with ADHD. We understand your concerns and are here to help you by providing an overview on this complex disorder. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the signs of ADHD in children, potential causes and triggers, and how to get support for children with ADHD to help them live their best life. With proper understanding and intervention strategies, you can equip yourself with the tools you need for successful parenting!

What Is ADHD in Children?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of children worldwide. It is characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention that can significantly impair a child’s ability to function in everyday life.

It is important to note that ADHD is not a result of poor parenting or lack of discipline; it is a legitimate medical condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. Early recognition and intervention are crucial in managing ADHD in children and helping them reach their full potential.

Different Types of ADHD in Children

There are three different subtypes of ADHD in children. Primarily Inattentive (ADHD-PI), Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive (ADHD-HI), and Combination (ADHD-C).

  • Primarily Inattentive (ADHD-PI): Children with this subtype often struggle to pay attention, follow through on tasks, and stay organized. They may also appear “spacey” or daydreamy and have a hard time staying focused on conversations. While ADHD-PI can be a challenge, with the right interventions and support, children with this subtype can thrive.
  • Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive (ADHD-HI): This subtype is characterized by intense hyperactivity, restlessness, impulsiveness, and difficulty waiting for their turn. These children may also have trouble sitting still, fidget excessively, talk excessively, or interrupt others, and may be extremely impatient.
  • Combination (ADHD-C): This type of ADHD is characterized by symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Children with ADHD-C may have difficulty paying attention in school, as well as difficulty regulating their behaviour in social situations.

What Causes ADHD in Children?

While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role. The following factors may play a role in the development of ADHD:

  • Genetics
  • Brain structure and function
  • Prenatal exposure to alcohol and tobacco
  • Exposure to lead
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Poor nutrition
  • Sleep problems
  • Trauma or stressful events

The Impact of ADHD on Children

While ADHD can manifest itself differently in each child, ADHD can impact a child’s social and academic development if left unaddressed.

  • Academic Performance: ADHD can lead to a lower academic performance, missed assignments, and a lack of focus during lectures.
  • Social Interactions: Socially, children with ADHD may have difficulty in managing their emotions, engaging in conversations, and making friends.
  • Emotional Well-Being: ADHD can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, and a sense of failure. As a result, children with ADHD are at a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
  • Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence: Children with ADHD may struggle to make friends or feel inadequate among their peers. This can lead to a lower sense of self-worth and increased emotional distress. 
  • Executive Functioning Skills: Children with ADHD often struggle with executive functioning skills, such as organization, time management, and problem-solving.
  • Behaviour and Discipline: ADHD can affect a child’s behaviour, leading to impulsive actions, difficulty following rules, and challenges with self-control. 

How Can Therapy and Counselling Help with ADHD in Children?

Fortunately, ADHD therapy and counselling can be effective in treating symptoms of ADHD.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): One form of ADHD counselling is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on developing coping strategies and self-regulation skills. CBT helps children improve their problem-solving skills, manage their emotions, and adjust to changes.
  • Play Therapy: Play therapy uses creative play to help children express their feelings, improve their communication skills, and develop healthy coping strategies. Play therapy can be particularly beneficial for children with ADHD as it provides a safe, non-judgmental space where they can explore and make sense of their emotions. Through play, children can learn to regulate their energy levels and improve their attention span, which are key components of managing ADHD.
  • Social Skills Training: Social skills training can help kids with ADHD improve their social interactions and build strong relationships with their peers. Through structured activities and guided therapy with a child therapist in Burlington, children can learn how to develop better communication skills, practice empathy and active listening, and gain a greater understanding of social cues and norms.
  • Family Therapy and Counselling: Another effective approach is family therapy and counselling, where the ADHD therapist works with the family as a whole to improve communication, understanding, and support. By strengthening family dynamics and relationships, children with ADHD can feel more secure, validated, and confident. It can also help parents and siblings learn new coping strategies and ways to support their loved one with ADHD, creating a more positive and supportive home environment.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: By practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, children can improve their focus and gain better control over their emotions. This can be particularly helpful for children with ADHD, who often struggle to regulate their thoughts and feelings.

Get a Free Consultation with an ADHD Therapist Now

By working with a child therapist in Burlington who specialized in ADHD in children, children with ADHD can learn to overcome their symptoms and reach their full potential.

Family Matters Centre is dedicated to helping children with ADHD receive the support they need through individual and group therapy for ADHD. Through such therapy with our qualified psychotherapists, children can learn coping mechanisms and strategies for managing their symptoms, leading to improved self-esteem and overall quality of life.

If you’re a parent looking for an ADHD therapist for children in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.

by Shari Markovich

Shari is a Child Therapist who has worked with children and adolescents for more than 20 years. She uses a variety of counselling modalities, including Theraplay®, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Family Systems. She is motivated to work with children and parents so families can function in healthy and supportive ways.