Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can affect a child in many different ways. Most people know that ADHD can cause children to struggle with things like sitting still, being quiet, paying attention, and staying organized. But ADHD also can make it hard for children to make friends.
In a classroom of 30 children, it is likely that at least 2 students are affected by ADHD.1 Exactly how ADHD adds to social problems is not understood fully, but children with ADHD often have trouble with simple social interactions and struggle to follow social cues. Children with ADHD are half as likely to have many good friends and are less likely to play with a group of friends, compared to children without ADHD.2
Having good friends adds to children's happiness and impacts their mental health and development. In some cases, children with peer problems may be at higher risk for anxiety, behavioral and mood disorders, substance abuse, and delinquency as teenagers.3
Having ADHD does not mean children always have poor relationships with their peers. Parents and caring adults often can help children with ADHD to make friends. Here are a few ways to help:
1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Mental Health Services. Children's Mental Health Facts: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, last referenced 9/26/2006.
2 New York University Child Study Center, 2001. ADHD Not Just a School-Day Disorder: New Survey Reveals All-Day Impact of ADHD on Children and Their Parents, last referenced 9/26/2006.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006. Peer Relationships and ADHD, last referenced 9/26/2006.
4 ComeUnity. Teacher Tips: Improving Social Skills in ADHD Students, last referenced 9/26/2006.
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