September is National ADHD Awareness Month

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? *Adopted from National Institute Mental Health

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood brain disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). These symptoms can make it difficult for a child with ADHD to succeed in school, get along with other children or adults, or finish tasks at home.

Brain imaging studies have revealed that, in youth with ADHD, the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed, on average, by about 3 years the delay is most pronounced in brain regions involved in thinking, paying attention, and planning

What are the symptoms of ADHD in children?

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often.

What causes ADHD?

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

How can parents help?

Children with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed in school.. Mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it impacts a family. They also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other

What about martial arts and Children with ADHD

John Ratey, M.D, the author of "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain" states that regular exercise, like karate, can turn on a child's attention system -- consisting of the cerebellum, frontal cortex and limbic system -- which can affect the parts of the brain responsible for sequencing, prioritizing, working memory and sustaining attention.

Ratey maintains that combining martial arts and medication lessens ADHD symptoms more than the use of medications alone. He also stresses that while exercise in general is good for children with ADHD, martial arts offers more benefits than many other forms of exercise, such as soccer or baseball.

Shihan:Growing up, while there was no formal diagnosis or term referred to as ADHD I certainly demonstrated many of the classic symptoms & behaviors including a robust about of misdirected energy, fidgeting, getting out my seat at school, lack of focus & attention, not completing assignments or turning them in on time, etc. During this time nobody seemed either capable or willing to invest time/energy on what to do with kids like me. While some of behaviors subsided as I became a young adolescent, the struggles with focus, following through with responsibilities did not. As result the issues with poor performance continued until…

Martial Arts was placed in front of me. Numerous aspects of the physical training encouraged not only fitness, my focus turned on from the self-discipline I gained. It was not easy yet with each step I managed to better understand the how too to get things done so my view of being responsible for my actions and taking pride on performing well with all tasks grew.

The key component was the positive view of myself as a result of the self-confidence I gained. The doors starting opening up the stronger I felt about myself. It was like magic.

The same individual that for years struggled in school now was excelling. Others began to notice the turn around and it was a great feeling to experience my self-respect growing and respect given to me by family, friends etc. Transforming for sure!!

Over recent years it is recognized that a quality martial arts program can be a great addition as a therapeutic regimen for children that have ADHD. Although not intended to replace appropriate medication, we have seen many children over the years that were able to either have their medication reduced or eliminated after being in our programs at International Karate Centers.

The difference for our students today at International Karate Centers is we have a greater understanding of the dynamics of ADHD and with the assistance of other educators & psychologists over the past 40 years we have created teaching methods and strategies that make for even better results from participating in our life changing programs.

As a result of these successes we receive many referrals from parents and professionals. Let other parents know that have a child with ADHD we can help!