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HYPERACTIVE
  

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a common childhood behavioural disorder. Only about one in twenty children will ever be diagnosed with this condition.

What are the symptoms of ADHD ?
Children who have ADHD may know what to do, but they are not always able to complete their tasks, since they are unable to concentrate. ADHD is not related to intellectual deficits. In fact, children with ADHD usually have average or about average intelligence. The hyperactive child is not naughty, he is basically overly active since he cannot sit still.

 

Children suffering from ADHD may have the following characteristics :

a.

Inability to pay attention to details.

b.

Forgetfulness in daily activities.

c.

Being overly talkative, demanding and emotional with frequent outbursts of crying and screaming.

d.

Inability to follow simple instructions.

e.

Apparent listening problems.

f.

Tendency to lose things, break toys.

g.

Tendency to behave recklessly, without thinking of the consequences.

h.

Fidgeting or squirming.

i.

Difficulty waiting for their turn.

j.

Problems of organizing tasks and activities.

Causes of ADHD
There are many theories on the causes of ADHD.

a.

Immaturity : Slower development of impulse control, emotional control and motor co-ordination is common among children with ADHD.

b.

Genetics : ADHD has logical origins that are not yet clearly defined. Researchers have found a number of possible genetic links. Studies show that smoking during pregnancy gives rise to a high possibility of ADHD in your child. Scientists have found out that about 5 to 10 % of certain areas of the brain of a child with ADHD is smaller in size and activity, as compared to normal children.

c.

Gender : ADHD is 4 to 7 times more common in boys than in girls. Boys mature slower than girls.

d.

Environment : ADHD in some children can be traced to mothers alcohol abuse, smoking or to an early childhood illness.

Treating ADHD

a.

Medical Treatment : ADHD is often treated with medication. Medication should be taken under the supervision of a doctor, as each child reacts differently to the medication. Psycho stimulants such as Ritalin Adderal and Dexedrine are the best known treatments.

b.

Diet : Take charge of your child's diet. Removing sugar and additives from a hyperactive child's diet can make a big difference in his behaviour.

c.

Stick to a schedule : Emphasize a routine, schedule meals, naps, outings, snacks, bath time, etc. By doing so you will slow down your child's frantic pace.

d.

Praise quiet play : If your toddler spends a few minutes looking at a book or playing with a puzzle, give him the applause he deserves.

e.

Avoid using physical punishment : Discipline should be consistent and firm, but loving.

f.

Love your child as he is : Do not condemn him. Instead be very positive. Help your child to channel his excess energy constructively.


Case Study

Past History
Sweta, a five year old girl was referred by her parents to the child guidance clinic for hyperactivity which had started 2 years ago. Her mother explained some of her symptoms as follows :

a.    Short attention span
b.    Easy distractibility
c.    Impulsiveness
d.    Lack of inhibition
e.    Low frustration tolerance
This child talked incessantly and was socially uninhibited and immature.

Past history revealed that this child went through 6 to 8 sleepless nights when the mother had delivered a second child. The child did not even see the face of the newborn. She did poorly in school academic work, showing specific learning disabilities, such as difficulty in learning to read. She was a problem to her teacher and to other students because of her hyperactivity and uninhibited behaviour.

Both at school and at home she had periodic temper outbursts. Despite her inferior scholastic achievement, she had above average intelligence. However, she felt inadequate and insecure and had a devaluated self-image. Psychological tests revealed nothing significant.

Treatment :

a.    

Attitude therapy was given to the parents. The mother was told not to show any partiality and favouritism to the new born in this child's presence, but to show equal love. It was shown to the mother that this hyperactive behaviour, with impulsity, could be controlled and it was an unconscious attention seeking type of reaction, to the child's feeling of being unloved. It was also a manifestation of her repressed hostility and aggression towards the newborn, which she could not openly show.

b.    

Psychotherapy was given during counselling sessions where the child was made aware of her having a new companion in the house, someone whom she could shower love and affection on.

Different activities were taught to the child to keep her busy, e.g. soaking bean seeds in a glass tumbler, etc. Writing practice was given to increase the attention span. Communication was made easier, so that the child felt at ease to speak.

 

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