Your daughter’s problems are very likely the results of a condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but you need to bring her to a psychologist to diagnose her. A significant number of children suffer from this disorder. In mild cases, a child may overcome it or learn to compensate for it as he or she grows older. In severe cases, medical management of the symptoms becomes necessary. It is important for parents to remember that these children have a mental condition. Besides medical treatment, the following things can be done at home and will help:
1. Since she has a short attention span and is not able to keep her mind and body to a task for any length of time. Give her little things to do, especially things she enjoys doing, and observe how long she can keep her attention on the task. Keep a log of her attention span (the length of time she can focus on a task without losing attention and moving away).
2. Use this information to guide her in her tasks. For example, when her mother or you sit down with her to help her do her schoolwork or any other task, get her to do it in small pieces in accordance with her attention span. Don’t worry if she loses interest in the task. Give lots of praise (verbal and material) for each small accomplishment. Let her move around if she wishes, then get her to do another little piece of the task, following the same procedure. It will take a lot of your time and energy, but that’s the way to help her.
3. Provide a good structure and routine around her daily life. Tell her clearly in very simple, short sentences what she is expected to do at all times.
4. Take her to a psychiatrist for an assessment to determine if medication is needed. If she needs it, give it to her and don’t worry about her becoming dependent on it.
5. Be patient. These conditions take a long time to go away. But if she begins to take some medication for it, you may see the results within three to four weeks. Don’t expect results right away, even from the medication.
6. There is lots information available on ADHD on the Internet. Here is one good Web site: A Parent’s Guide to ADHD
Hope this helps. I pray for her health and prosperity.
From Counselor Karima Burns
Wa `Alaykum As-Salam,
It is difficult to know what may be happening with your daughter as your description is short and I have not met her. However, I do know that many children who are sent to psychologists at a young age do not actually have disorders, but are simply facing normal challenges for their age and/or struggling with inappropriate demands being put on them at their age.
The best thing to do for your daughter at this time would be to love and accept her for who she is. Be patient, set firm limits and rules, spend a lot of time with her, take her for walks, let her play outdoors a lot and give her some time to grow into who she is.
Before the age of 7, a child should still inhabit the imaginary and carefree world of a child. A child at this age should be spending much of her time in movement – walks in nature, exercise, movement of so many kinds. Her learning should be active as well as her play. When learning to read and write, she should be watching the teacher tell a story and given the chance to act out the words of the story. When learning math, she should be able to march to the beat of the numbers and clap to the beat of counting by twos.
If she is being restricted in any way – forced to sit at a desk at school for long hours, scheduled to sit in after school classes to “enrich” her education, spending hours each week in front of a TV or with video games – then she will develop an imbalance in her nature and have trouble with focus, control and movement.
You can easily repair this imbalance by adding more movement to her life in the form of more walks and movement in general, by restricting her electronics usage (TV or games) to a couple hours on weekends only, and by making sure she eats a healthy and balanced diet low in sugar and completely devoid of any sodas.
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