Children seem to have a bottomless reservoir of energy from which they can draw on at will. It’s a time to run free and unhindered, explore and play, make mistakes and learn from them. It is very normal and even healthy for your child to be active, talkative and restless. This restlessness and inability to sit still is, in fact, how children explore and adapt to their environment. But, hyperactivity could sometimes be indicative of some deeper issues that need your attention.
Is your child excessively fidgety and restless, cycling one minute, wanting to play cricket the next, and then running around the third?
• Does your child ignore you when you speak to him or seem unable to listen to or follow the simplest of instructions?
• Does he forget the details of the story that you just told him some time ago?
• Is he prone to blurt out inappropriate remarks at inappropriate times, not giving other children an opportunity to speak?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, it may be wise to observe your child more closely and try to find out whether he is just exhibiting the normal restlessness and inattention of childhood, or whether his behaviour points to what psychologists term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurobiological condition which disrupts the processing of information in the brain; it is basically a disorder of the neurotransmitter function. ADHD could be genetic or acquired, or a combination of the two, a result of environmental pollutants, toxins, or of the risk factors of pregnancy and childbirth such as insufficient fetal growth, low birth weight, respiratory distress, etc.
In India, this disorder affects around 10% to 20% of school going kids, and more boys than girls. In fact, boys suffering from ADHD outnumber girls by a ratio of 9:1!
The symptoms of ADHD appear in early childhood, generally before the age of seven. Children suffering from ADHD are generally so hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive that they often face learning difficulties, social isolation from their peers and siblings, and, worst of all, depression.
|It is a common myth that children who suffer from ADHD are always inattentive. In fact, an ADHD child can very easily focus on the task at hand if he finds it to his interest. However, if the given task is boring or monotonous, then he will lose interest extremely quickly and refuse to work at the task. Also, such children are not necessarily excessively hyperactive. A little girl who sits at her desk and day dreams with her attention miles away, could also very well be suffering from ADHD.|
How do I identify whether my child is suffering from ADHD?
ADHD has three major symptoms. If even one of these is present, then the child suffers from some degree of ADHD.