ADHD / ADD / Learning Difficulties in children

Hypnotherapy notes

Hypnotherapy / EMDR / NLP / Timeline therapy is used in conjunction with other interventions prescribed by the child's / patient's consultant.

Hypnotherapy / EMDR can help parents / siblings / partners deal with the situation in positive manner.

Hypnotherapy / EMDR provides the child / patient with tools to enable relaxation, stabilisation of mood / behaviours, channelling energy usefully, improving concentration, improving relationships and boosting confidence / self-esteem (ego).

It may be appropriate for the therapist to teach specific EMDR techniques to the parent to enable longer term treatment.


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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) refer to a range of problem behaviours associated with poor attention span. These may include impulsiveness, restlessness and hyperactivity, as well as inattentiveness, and often prevent children from learning and socialising well. ADHD is sometimes referred to as hyperkinetic disorder. ADHD often prevents children from learning and socialising well.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

Attention difficulties

A child must have exhibited at least six of the following symptoms for at least six months to an extent that is unusual for their age and level of intelligence.

  • Fails to pay close attention to detail or makes careless errors during work or play.
  • Fails to finish tasks or sustain attention in play activities.
  • Seems not to listen to what is said to him or her.
  • Fails to follow through instructions or to finish homework or chores (not because of confrontational behaviour or failure to understand instructions).
  • Disorganised about tasks and activities.
  • Avoids tasks like homework that require sustained mental effort.
  • Loses things necessary for certain tasks or activities, such as pencils, books or toys.
  • Easily distracted.
  • Forgetful in the course of daily activities.

Hyperactivity

A child must have exhibited at least three of the following symptoms for at least six months to an extent that is unusual for their age and level of intelligence.

  • Runs around or excessively climbs over things. (In adolescents or adults only feelings of restlessness may occur.)
  • Unduly noisy in playing, or has difficulty in engaging in quiet leisure activities.
  • Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations where remaining seated is expected.
  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms on seat.

Impulsivity

  • At least one of the following symptoms must have persisted at least for six months to an extent that is unusual for their age and level of intelligence.
  • Blurts out answers before the questions have been completed.
  • Fails to wait in lines or await turns in games or group situations.
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others, e.g. butts into others conversations or games.
  • Talks excessively without appropriate response to social restraint.

Pervasiveness of attention difficulties and hyperactivity

For a diagnosis or description of ADHD a child would be expected to show the above difficulties in more than one setting, eg at school and at home.

Sometimes problems are not shown 'at home' but are very evident when a child goes to a hospital department. This can happen when parents do not realise that their child's behaviour is out of the normal range (perhaps because they have no other children, or they have other children who behave similarly). It may also be because the problems are mild, or because the family has handled the attention lack at home in such a way that it is not evident there is a major problem, or because the child is very young. In those cases it is quite reasonable for parents not to consider that their child has an attention deficit problem.

Who is affected by ADHD?

About 1.7 per cent of the UK population, mostly children, have ADD or ADHD. Boys are more likely to be affected.

What else could it be?

Grand mal or petit mal epileptic seizures can cause a child to become drowsy, impairing their attention. Epilepsy can also cause unusual behaviour and lead to abnormal perceptions.

Hearing problems such as deafness or glue ear can make it hard for a child to follow instructions and make them appear inattentive.

Reading problems, making it hard to complete tasks or follow instructions.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) leads to people following strange rituals that preoccupy their thoughts and distract their attention.

Tourette's syndrome involves repetitive, involuntary jerking movements of the body and sudden outbursts of noise or swearing.

Autism and Asperger's syndrome often lead to difficulties in understanding and using language.

Prolonged periods of insufficient sleep, causing poor concentration.

NB: Many children may be very active or be easily distracted or have difficulty concentrating. If these behaviours are relatively mild, they should not be considered a disorder.

What other difficulties can occur alongside ADHD?

ADHD often occurs alongside other difficulties and is not the sole cause of problem behaviour. Children may exhibit temper tantrums, sleep disorders, and be clumsy. Other behavioural problems that occur with ADHD include:

  • confrontational defiant behaviour, which occurs in 60 per cent of children. The child loses their temper, argues and refuses to comply with adults and deliberately annoys others.
  • conduct disorders occur in at least 25 per cent of children. The child may be destructive or show deceitful behaviour such as lying, breaking rules and stealing.
  • specific learning difficulties, including dyslexia, occur in 25-30 per cent of children.
  • severe clinical depression occurs in 33 per cent of children.
  • anxiety disorders occur in 30 per cent of children.

What causes ADHD?

Biological factors

The child's temperament, as this contributes to their attitude and personality.

Studies of twins suggest a genetic link to ADHD. In 80-90 per cent of identical twins where one has ADHD so does the other. Recent research also suggests there is a greater chance of inheriting the condition from male relatives such as grandfathers and uncles.

Brain injuries due to birth trauma or pre-birth problems. The brain structures believed to be linked to the development of ADHD are vulnerable to hypoxic damage during birth. The damage is caused by inadequate oxygen reaching parts of the brain while blood flow is reduced.

Environmental factors

  • Family stress.
  • Educational difficulties.



Research: Eagle, K. (2004) The effects of parental empathic responses on children's aggressive behavior.

Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering. Vol 64 (7-B): 3510

Responses that are aggressive and inconsistent toward non-compliant and aggressive behavior in children have been found to actually increase the frequency and intensity of children's aggressive and non-compliant behavior (Patterson, 1982). Feshbach's (1989, 1995) studies found that parental empathy has a socializing effect on children, a regulatory effect on aggression, and is a deterrent to aggression.

Client centered theory considers the role of empathic responses fundamental to the therapist-client relationship and client positive change (Rogers, 1951). Axline (1947) found that empathic responding to the child in a play therapy setting brought about positive change in the child.

There is limited empirical research in the area of parent empathy and children's aggressive behavior. The greatest degree of improvement for aggressive youth, and perhaps the most strategic point for intervention, is generally seen in younger children, prior to age eight (Dodge, 1993; Kazdin, 1987).

The purpose of this study was to determine if parent empathic responses to children's aggressive behavior would decrease aggressive behavior on the part of the child. A multiple baseline across subjects design was used with three parent-child dyads. Participants were mothers involved with Child Protective Services and their three to seven year old children identified with aggressive behaviors.

Parents were trained in content reflection and empathic responding and employed them with their child's behavior. Results showed that aggressive behavior significantly decreased for all three children, although they were confounded by the use of content reflection and empathy combined. It was hypothesized that content reflection may have served to reinforce non-aggressive behavior.

More research is needed to parcel out the effects of each variable. Mother's pre and post self-report measures identified change in perception of empathy and child behaviors as well. Information from this study may be useful in education, parent and teacher training, and family interventions dealing with violence and aggressive interactions. More information is needed on ways to reduce child aggression in the parent-child relationship and contemporary society.





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Bill Frost - Clinical Hypnotherapist 1998-2017

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