Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD )
My Child, hard to focus and hyperactive
Do you have similar experiences? Is it hard to expect something from your children or students? He/she frequently have a blank look, very moveable or hyperactive and quarrelsome with friends, teachers even with his/her own parents.
Be careful not to easily label the child as belligerent, lazy or grueling. He/she might suffer the condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a dysfunctional condition that includes lack of focus and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity, which means that a person might lack of focus but not hyperactive.
Today, there are more less 10% children in the US suffered from ADHD and the number is increasing. This condition is more prevalent in boys rather than girls.
What is the cause?
Just like autism, there is no specified cause of ADHD. It is unique for every individual. Some caused by profound allergy, lack of dopamine in the brain, undeveloped certain part of the brain, too much certain chemical entities in the body, etc. Nevertheless, this condition is brought since birth and not caused by certain disease or accident.
Normally hyperactivity can be seen since childhood because of the higher activity compared to his/her peer, hence the lack of focus is seen when the child starts studying at elementary level. Children under 5 years old tend to have shorter attention span, besides kindergarten activities will allow the children to explore more and learning actively.
Lack of focus is also known as lack of concentration, but they are not necessarily the same. Children with ADHD have a wide range of concentration. Inside the class they can hear the noise from outside, the noise from the air conditioning, see the picture on the wall, see the ribbon on the hair of their friend while listening to the teacher, the problem lies on the inability to sort their attention out, they cannot sort which thing is more important, thus they cannot focus their attention on the thing they should.
This condition must be present at different part of life, which means if they are lack of focus. It happens whether they are in school or when they are at home. If they are hyperactive, then they will be hyperactive either in school or at their respective home. Those who are lack of focus can be very focus when they are doing things that they like, especially when the object they are facing is bright such as computer or games.
Is the condition curable?
ADHD is not a disease, therefore it cannot be cured. However, we can help the children to improve. There are several approaches in helping those with ADHD. As a description, there are many people with ADHD success as entrepreneur, athlete, TV star, etc. They succeed because they have enormous energy and extraordinary creativity.
What is important first and foremost, the accurate diagnose. A child / person can be diagnosed as ADHD if he/she meets certain criteria. The minimum IQ level of the child, has to be in the average level. Why? Because if the IQ level is lower than average, it might happen that the learning difficulties is caused by the low learning potential rather than lack of focus. Other condition that can prompt the child to have difficulty in focusing is fatigue/tiredness. Today where the children have to join different kind of activities, tiredness can be seen as lack of focus during their study time.
In a situation where a child is diagnosed with ADHD, there are some assessment that can be done, such as neurological examination, allergy test and sensory test. Neurological examination needs to be done to see if there is a neurology problem while allergy test is aimed at the diet proper for the child, and the sensory test can be used to determine the appropriate therapy for the child.
Intake diet is one of the important factors to improve the focusing ability and minimize the hyperactivity of a child with ADHD. There are many researches that prove the effect of diet on the focusing ability and reducing the hyperactivity.
The common therapies for ADHD are sensory integration therapy, occupation therapy, brain gym, rhythmic movement therapy or hypnotherapy, while family counseling is also being done.
If those approaches have been implemented and still there is no significant improvement, the proper medication need to be considered. Medication requires routine and general check up by child neurologist.
There is a need to work together between the parents and schools which are very important. If it is possible, allow the child to study at the ordinary (non-special) school, but if it is impossible, study at special school with special teachers can be an alternative.
With proper approach we can help children with ADHD to improve their life quality and deal with their limitation. Without proper approach, the description of research finding is alarming, since almost 80% of prisoners in the US are people with ADHD. They did the crimes because of their impulsivity and feeling of offended for negative label given to them.
- Careless or sloppy in doing the task
- Difficulty in focusing
- Inattentive when called or converse
- Difficulty in following the instruction or unfinished homework/school assignments
- Difficulty in organizing school assignment and homework
- Refuse to work on task that requires full attention such as homework
- Frequently losing things
- Easily distracted by external stimuli
Hyperactivity / Impulsive
- Frequently fidgeting
- Move around the classroom, hard to sit still
- Run/climb/move excessively
- Difficult in activity which requires immobility such as reading
- Continuously active, as if untiring machine
- Tend to answer before the question is finished
- Difficult to wait / queue
- Tend to interrupt conversation of hassle others
(Diana Tarigan, Psi)