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29 May, 2024
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What is ADHD? – H&S Education & Parenting

Does Your Child Have ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD can be extremely challenging for you and your child, however, you can overcome the challenges by understanding what this is, the types & symptoms and the treatment to help your child with ADHD.

What Is ADHD & What Causes It?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic behavioural disorder that often begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood. This complex neurodevelopmental disorder is quite common and is usually diagnosed in childhood especially when the child is of school-going age when the symptoms of inattentiveness, impulsiveness and/0r hyperactivity are noticed. With most cases being diagnosed between the ages 6-12 years.

The causes and risk factors for this condition are unknown but current research has pointed to genetics playing an important role. Apart from genetics, other possible causes and risk factors include brain injury, alcohol/tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery, low birth weight, exposure to environmental hazards such as lead. While consumption of excessive sugar, watching TV excessively are popular myths that they may cause ADHD as research doesn’t support this, however, they could definitely play a role in worsening symptoms.

There are basically 3 types of ADHD which depend on the symptoms present. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation is when it’s difficult for the individual to organize, finish a task, pay attention to or follow instructions, getting easily distracted and forgets. The second type is a Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation where the individual is fidgety and overtalks, finding it hard to sit still, feels restless and has trouble with being impulsive i.e. he/she may interrupt others, or speak out of turn. This also puts an individual at risk of getting into accidents and having more injuries. The third type is basically a Combined Presentation where symptoms of inattentiveness, as well as hyperactivity and impulsiveness, are all present.

It is therefore important to diagnose ADHD as this disorder can hinder a child’s success at school as well as interfere with his/her relationship, causing difficulty as school, home or with friends. A diagnosis doesn’t mean a cure as ADHD can’t be cured but it definitely means that this condition can be better managed. It is also important to note that symptoms improve with time for most children who suffer from ADHD.

Some Common Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:

1. Daydreaming
2. Losing/forgetting things
3. Talking too much
4. Fidgeting/squirming
5. Making careless mistakes
6. Can’t resist temptations easily
7. Having difficulty getting along with people
8. Having trouble taking/waiting turns
9. Lack of focus
10. Can’t finish tasks

For better understanding, symptoms can also be broken under Inattentiveness and Hyperactivity & Impulsiveness.

Signs & Symptoms of Inattentiveness:
1. Lack focus as they have a short attention span and can get easily distracted, unable to stick to tedious or time-consuming tasks and can’t carry out instructions easily
2. They can make careless mistakes easily
3. They are easy to lose or forget things
4. Have difficulty to stick to one task or finish a task
Signs & Symptoms of Hyperactivity & Impulsiveness:
1. Fidget or squirm a lot as they are unable to sit still
2. They are unable to concentrate on tasks
3. They talk too much
4. They move too much
5. They have trouble waiting for their turns
6. They interrupt conversations easily
7. They can’t resist temptations and are risk-takers with little or no sense of danger
8. They act without thinking

What To Do & How To Help A Child With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

It’s best you take your child to a paediatrician if you suspect the problem. A series of tests and thorough evaluation is required to reach the diagnosis as it is a complex condition to diagnose and even certain types of learning disability can have similar symptoms. As you are aware that there is no cure for ADHD but there are many treatment options to help control symptoms. This includes a combination of behaviour therapy as well as medication.

For young children below 7 years of age (4-5 years of age) behaviour therapy is the first line of treatment before medication is tried.

Remember, what works well for a child depends on the child and family and a good treatment plan includes monitoring the symptoms, follow-ups and making changes along the way as needed.



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