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Does My Son Have ADHD?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Dec 06, 2017

Question

Salam. I am afraid my son has ADHD. I talked to the teachers at the nursery and they also assume the same. What do I need to do now besides bringing him to the center for a diagnosis? What can I do with him at home? It is so hard to deal with him, he is always talking, he needs our attention in every second and if he does not get it for a minute he starts yelling. It is really hard. What can I do with him at home and what has caused him to have ADHD? JazakAllah.

Counselor

Answer


Does My Son Have ADHD?

In this counseling answer:

It is quite possible that he does not have ADHD as many children who are thought to have ADHD by parents and teachers, in fact, do not. If he does happen to have ADHD, it is not the end of the world. In fact, it is quite common and often times children outgrow it. Treatment is geared towards behavioral interventions and medication as a last resort. ADHD appears to have a genetic link as it tends to run in families but researchers have not conclusively determined what causes it. ”


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum,

Thank you for writing us. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties you are having with your son at home and at the nursery school.  I truly understand your concern about your son having ADHD. However, please keep in mind that it is only speculation and he has not been assessed yet. While his teachers may feel the same way that he has ADHD, I am not sure if they are qualified to state that.  Only a trained professional who has assessed your son for ADHD can make that evaluation. It could be that he does not have ADHD at all. Depending on his age, he could be just a very active and controlling little guy.

I would kindly suggest that at home you begin to set more limits and boundaries so you do not re-enforce negative behaviors. Boundaries also give a child a sense of safety in regards to their behaviors in terms of what is acceptable and what is not.

I would also suggest that when he does display self-control or does listen to you verbally reward him and every so often reward his positive behavior with a treat.

Regarding negative behaviors, for instance, if he starts to yell because you are not giving him attention, do not give him attention to stop his yelling. If he talks over you or displays other negative behaviors, promptly ends any conversation and tell him you will respond when he is calmed down and respectful. Reacting in the way he wants (the way he now expects) only re-enforces the fact in his mind that if he yells, he will get what he wants. Thus, it will be a never-ending cycle. Insha’Allah, when he starts yelling, tell him you will talk with him when he stops yelling and walk away (if he is in a safe place). If he stops, ask him if he is ready to talk.

I would kindly suggest that when speaking with him, you keep your voice low and speak slowly. Children tend to imitate our behaviors, voice as well as pick up on our emotions. If we are stressed out, upset, frantic or otherwise in a hurry to get a certain behavior to stop, children will pick up on this and they will often follow our momentum. By speaking slowly, softly yet firm, insha’Allah he will soon begin to relearn his communication skills by your lead.

At home, try to keep his environmental activity to a minimum. A lot of noise or multiple activities at one time can be overwhelming even for adults! A child as well, especially if a child is easily excitable, distracted or has problems with self-control. This may be hard if there are other children in the home but try as best as you can to keep your child in a minimally active environment. By doing so in sha’ Allah, he will begin to learn how to self-regulate, increase his attention span as well as his patience.  When there are only a few things to focus on, it is much easier for him to process.

As I do not know his age, there may be some variation due to his developmental stage. Please do try utilizing these techniques at a level which he can understand and in a language that he is familiar with.

I would also kindly suggest that you recite Qur’an often around him as well as do dhkir. I would encourage him to join you in recitation and remembrance as both have healing and calming effects. Please do get him evaluated.

Chadd.org suggests, “If you suspect that your preschooler has ADHD, you will want to talk to a professional who is trained to diagnose and treat ADHD such as your child’s pediatrician, a child psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker or another qualified mental health clinician. It is also important to have your child checked for other conditions such as vision, hearing, or sleep problems because sometimes the symptoms look like ADHD”.

Again, it is quite possible that he does not have ADHD as many children who are thought to have ADHD by parents and teachers, in fact, do not. If he does happen to have ADHD, it is not the end of the world. In fact, it is quite common and often times children outgrow it. Treatment is geared towards behavioral interventions and medication as a last resort. ADHD appears to have a genetic link as it tends to run in families but researchers have not conclusively determined what causes it.

Again, please do get him assessed as it may not be ADHD at all. Implement the above interventions insha’Allah until the therapist evaluates him and please give yourself a rest from worry! I know it is a lot to deal with and you love him so much, but insha’Allah it will all work out. You are in our prayers, please let us how things go.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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