Children with ADHD exhibit a variety of symptoms ranging from inattention to hyperactivity.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuro-developmental disorder of self-control. As the name suggests, the symptoms of ADHD are characterised by serious and persistent difficulty in three areas, namely:
It is quite normal for children to be active, inattentive and impulsive. However, children have difficulties in the above areas when these behaviours:
Children who exhibit such behaviours may be suffering from ADHD. Another name for this is hyperkinetic disorder. ADHD is related to abnormalities in brain functioning and development. It is also associated with other factors that can affect brain functioning or development, such as genetic factors, injuries, toxins and infections.
Signs and symptoms
Children with ADHD exhibit a variety of symptoms. According to diagnostic criteria, the symptoms must have started before the age of seven and be evident for at least six months.
With inattention, the child:
With hyperactivity and impulsivity, the child:
There is no simple treatment. A multidisciplinary approach is most effective. This includes:
Medicine changes the brain chemistry so that the brain may function in a more orderly manner. As a child’s concentration improves and hyperactivity lessens, the child will find life more manageable and satisfying.
Help with behaviour management and organisation skills
Parents can help children structure and organise their life. Having a routine is essential. Parents may make use of concrete reminders, such as lists, schedules and alarm clocks to help break down homework activities into small steps. Use of small, frequent and constantly repeated incentives and feedback increase children’s awareness of what they are doing. Positive results are encouraged in this way.
Training parents to elicit desired behaviour
Training parents helps them to elicit the desired behaviour they want in their children. As children with ADHD often feel they can do nothing right or well, helping children experience success by discovering what they are good at will foster their confidence and competence.