Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neuro-developmental disorder. Meaning, due to atypical/different development of the brain, there are certain deficits in the neuropsychological functioning. Therefore, difficulties are experienced in performing higher mental functions like planning, organising, problem-solving, etc. This condition makes it difficult for kids to control their behaviour. Symptoms of ADHD are most commonly present since childhood, however, it may occur in adolescents or adulthood as well.
For children with ADHD, school too often starts with a big disappointment, and it only goes downhill from there. Almost about 50% of the students repeat a class by adolescence. Around 35% of the children eventually drop out of school, while only 5% complete college.
As per the studies, by the age of eleven, 80% were at least two years behind in reading, writing, spelling, and math. Even children with normal to superior intelligence show ‘chronic and severe underachievement’. Unusually high suspension and expulsion rates further compromise school achievement and completion. No, you are not alone! ADHD affects almost 4-12% of school-going kids.
– Difficulty in regulating attention, day-dreaming
– Easily distracted and inability to filter out stimuli
– Difficulty in persisting with boring routine tasks
– Leaving tasks unfinished, overlooking details
– Losing or forgetting things frequently
– Difficulty in processing consequences to their behaviour
– Blurting out answers or saying things without thinking
– Difficulty in taking turns, difficulty in waiting
– Frequently interrupting others
– In constant motion
– As if driven by a motor
– Excessive fidgetiness or not being able to engage in activities quietly
– Talking excessively
– Disruptive classroom/ group behaviour
– Inattentive Type: Primary complaints of poor attention and high distractibility. They are usually not excessively active or disruptive.
– Hyperactive Type: Show both hyperactivity and impulsivity in behaviour however do not have much trouble in paying attention.
– Combined Type: Features of all the three symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are present. It is the most common type of ADHD.
– Genetically present (i.e. runs in the family)
– Biological disorder
– Lower activities in parts of the brain that control attention & activity levels
– Premature birth increases the risks of developing ADHD
– Alcohol, smoking to the baby while in the womb may increase risks
How to recognize?
Checklist for the screening of ADHD
Restless or overactive, always ‘on the go’ or acts as if driven by a motor
Fails to give close attention, careless mistakes in school & other activities
Temper outbursts; impulsive & explosive, unpredictable behaviour
Inattentive, easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
Difficulty in sustaining attention in tasks, school work or play activities
Emotional and sensitive to criticism; get easily hurt
Unaccepted by the group due to restlessness and frequent fight
Fails to finish things he or she starts
Actively defies or refuses to comply with adults or argues
Disturbs other children
Lacks interest in school work
Avoids or reluctant to tasks requiring sustained mental efforts (like homework)
Forgets things he or she has already learned
Leaves seat in classroom or in situations where remaining seated is expected
Poor in spelling, arithmetic because of inattention
Mood changes quickly and drastically, cry often & easily
Has difficulty organising tasks or activities
Has difficulty in waiting for his or her turn
Fidgeting (small hand & feet movements due to nervousness or lack of patience)
Has poor social skills
Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities
Demands must be met immediately – easily frustrated
Burst out answers to questions before the questions have been completed
Loses things like school assignments, pencils, books, tools, or toys
Possible consequences if left untreated:
– Poor academic performance and risk of dropping out of school/college
– Behavioural and disciplinary problems
– Risk of abuse to alcohol and other drugs
– Risk-taking behaviours (illegal acts)
– Accidents and injuries
– Depression, anxiety and other mental health problems
– Frequent loss/change in jobs
What are the treatment options?
– Medication (includes methylphenidate, atomoxetine) that help to balance the chemicals in the brain that are essential for effective functioning
– Occupational Therapist, Special Educator plays a big role to manage their sensory, motor, kinaesthetic, inattention, and sitting problems
– Psychological Therapies including Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour therapy and neuropsychological training to help in developing better attention, concentration abilities, developing better skills of problem-solving, impulse-control, time management, organisation and planning along with managing poor self-esteem, depression, and anxiety
– Proper parenting skills are needed for learning effective management strategies
Parenting tips for ADHD kids:
- Stay positive
- Encourage exercising
- Break tasks down
- Reduce distraction
- Introduce wait time
- Calm down
How UDGAM will help in treatment?
We at UDGAM – A Mental Health Care & Rehabilitation Centre, comprise a dedicated team of mental health professionals who believe that right interventions for children can bring impactful changes in their and their parent’s life. We have an online home-based program and clinic-based program for children with special needs and ADHD. We provide quality care, support & multidisciplinary services to achieve this and promote Hope, Health & Happiness.