Why is early intervention so important for a child with ADHD

Early Intervention helps children with ADHD (Attentional Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) on so many levels.  The earlier you can diagnosis ADHD, the better for the child and their educational future.  

Children with ADHD tend to struggle in school – not because they cannot academically cope with a mainstream curriculum but more so because most young children with ADHD tend to be weak in what we refer to as “executive functioning”.  

Executive functioning skills are the self-regulating skills that we all use to accomplish a variety of tasks on an everyday basis.  Struggling with executive functioning means you can struggle with anything from organising time and materials to making decisions.

Other aspects of life that can be affected includes the child’s ability to control their emotions.  They will struggle with aspect like “cause and effect” or “actions have consequences” and they will in most instances NOT learn from their own past mistakes.  

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent neurological / mental disorders in children and is associated with important negative functional outcome throughout development.  

The first signs of ADHD will become apparent during the child’s preschool years.  By addressing behaviour difficulties when they become apparent you are affectivity limiting the disorders negative impact and preventing future impairments.  

Behaviour therapy works best when it is started early in a child’s life because younger children have simpler problems to older children.  

  • Younger children also have less academic pressure and/or social pressure than older children.  
  • Younger children may be more responsive to behaviour therapies than older children as the behaviour are less “set” in stone;
  • Parent-child interactions are not yet ingrained in young children and so are easier to change.  The same would go for teacher-child interaction;
  • The longer a child has had “negative” interaction about their behaviour from either a parent or a teacher the greater the chances that the child has already developed secondary behaviours – and the cycle will continue year after year;
  • The younger child has a more amendable brain function.

Research also shows that Early Intervention can most definitely result in better all-round self-esteem and academic achievement.

Ilse Kilian-Ross
ilse@amazingk.co.za

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.