Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.
Foster carers often must look after children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Sometimes a child can exhibit the symptoms of ADHD, without having been diagnosed.
The symptoms include poor concentration, disorganisation or excessive talking. Negative behaviours, such as interrupting and shouting, can often be incorrectly perceived if a child has not been diagnosed with the condition.
Children can take medication to counter the effects of ADHD. The most commonly prescribed drug is Ritalin. However, the side-effects of medication often outweigh the benefits. Furthermore, evidence suggests that medicating children does not help them in the long-term. The alternative is behavioural management.
However, foster carers can have a limited say as to whether a child diagnosed with ADHD is medicated. If a child arrives already taking the medicine, you can ask for a review of their medication and suggest trying a period without it. If this is agreed upon you can focus on developing, clear and consistent boundaries and avoid over-stimulation.
For example, avoid excessive use of video games and a poor diet. An additive rich diet of processed food and drink can often exacerbate ADHD.
Behavioural management is a more non-invasive form of treatment than medication. In the long-term development of the child it can often be much more beneficial.