ADHD is a common disorder in Pre-primary and Primary school children. Children with ADHD are poor at paying attention and are often impulsive in their behavior or may also be overly active.
Approximately 10 million Indian children are diagnosed with ADHD annually.
Many children with ADHD also have other disorders
1) About 50% of children with ADHD have behavior or conduct problems.
2) About 30% of children with ADHD have anxiety.
What Causes ADHD?
ADHD or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to studies, there could be multiple reasons for ADHD in all children.
ADHD is a result of both biological and psycho-social factors. Biological risk factors could be dysregulation in neurotransmission that may be inherited or congenital. There are indications that ADHD runs in families. Up-bringing and social practices can also result in ADHD.
ADHD - Symptoms and Diagnosis
Diagnosis of ADHD is a multi-step process. Diagnosing ADHD and many other problems, like sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities must also be considered.
The diagnosis is best done by mental health professionals, like psychologists, psychiatrists, or pediatricians.
How is ADHD Diagnosed?
According to Dr. Bhooshan Shukla, a child psychiatrist, " Diagnosis of ADHD requires observation of the child in free play, detailed observation from the teacher, and detailed observations from parents,”
The two prominent symptoms of ADHD are inattention and Hyperactivity and impulsiveness. The behavior pattern of the child gives enough indications. Let us understand each in detail.
All of these are not seen in every case. If six or more up to the age of 16 years, or if symptoms of inattention are seen for six months or more, it could be a case of ADHD:
a)Finds difficulty giving attention to details and commits careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
b) Show low attention span for tasks or play.
c) Does not seem to listen when spoken to.
d) Refuses to follow instructions and loses focus.
e) Very often, it is unorganized in tasks and activities.
f) Avoids and is reluctant to do tasks demanding mental efforts.
g) Misplaces or even loses important things like pens, pencils, books, tools, and eyeglasses.
h) Gets distracted easily.
i) Does not remember daily activities and is forgetful.
2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: If six or more symptoms of Hyperactivity and impulsivity are seen in children up to age 16, or if these persist for 6 months or more, it could be ADHD.
a) Hardly stable while sitting. Such children keep tapping their feet and keep shuffling in their seats.
b) Keeps leaving the seat even if it is not permitted or asked not to do so.
c) Running around unwontedly, highly restless.
d) Always unstable, moving around impulsively for no reason.
e) Over talkative, even if not required to.
f) Highly impatient, he answers before a question is completed.
g) Often has trouble waiting their turn.
h) Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
i) Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., forces into a conversation or a game)
Other symptoms may require further consultation with experts if the symptoms affect the quality of behavior in school or social circles.
Moreover, the symptoms do not remain constant, and it has been observed they may change with time.
ADHD may show three different variants depending on the symptoms. They could be of
A) Combined Presentation: If the child has been both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive for over the last 6 months
B) Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: Showing inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsiveness.
C) Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: If a child is hyperactive-impulsive but is not inattentive.
To conclude, if your child is showing ADHD, the first thing stops worrying. It is treatable. You must consult the school, informing them of your observations. You will also get enough feedback from the school. The school teachers could also take care to a great extent in improving the situation.
Then, if needed, contact the concerned experts and therapists like a pediatrician or a child psychologist, follow their instructions, and work in close cohesion with them.
Do not go for hearsay self-treatment.
Worldwide this approach to handling cases of ADHD has shown to be greatly successful in helping the child and the family.
Your role as parents?
As parents, you could follow the following to improve the behavior of your child:
a) Have a routine for the whole day from morning till going to bed, and follow it meticulously.
b) Encourage the child to do daily essentials like packing the school bags, getting ready for school, putting on the school dress, wearing shoes, keeping the toys in the right place, etc.
c) Limit screen time. If light music helps your child to concentrate, you can try it.
d) Keep the child's study area clean, preferably making the child do the learning and arrangements. Limit noise.
e) Do not provide too many choices or options. Allow even meals either this or that. Dresses between these two.
f) Give specific instructions. Avoid giving too many directives at one time. Also, listen carefully to what the child has to say.
g) When a task requires planning, allow the child to do it. Only be a helping hand, not the leader.
h) Make realistic, achievable goals. Achievable in small steps. Keep track of behavior. Never forget to appreciate good behavior or an accomplishment by the child, however trifling.
i) Disciplining the child for inappropriate behavior is important, but no scolding, yelling or spanking. Try a time-out or reduce certain privileges. It does work!
j) Identify what keeps the child at peace. It could be music, sports, drawing, art, etc.
k) Ensure the child gets enough sleep, healthy food, comfort, etc.
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