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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD for short) is characterised as a developmental disorder, which usually arises during early to middle childhood. It is recognised as a chronic condition with sufferers usually, though not always, experiencing the symptoms into adulthood as well. Adults can also develop this condition as they grow and mature, with many of the same symptoms as young children will exhibit when they are growing up.

Signs and symptoms

  1. Inability to concentrate for any length of time
  2. Becoming very easily bored or distracted soon after starting a task
  3. Difficulty with organisational skills
  4. Not always fully paying attention or listening
  5. Daydreaming
  6. Unable to follow instructions
  7. Hyperactivity

In cases where ADHD is suspected, diagnosis can be made by a trained psychologist, psychiatrist, paediatrician or clinical social worker. All other medical and psychological conditions will be ruled out before a decision is made and during this process the child’s parents and teachers will be questioned on points of behavior and attitude that they have noticed in the child.

Treatment

The classic treatments for this condition are a combination of medication and therapy. Certain medications like Methylphenidate, Dexamifitine or Atomoxetine may be prescribed alongside talking and behavioral therapies. Medication on its own is not an adequate treatment for this condition as it will help in cases where there is hyperactivity or excess energy, but will not deal with the root causes of any problems with temperament or attitude.

Behavioral therapies work on a system of encouraging the child to sit, listen and concentrate with a “reward and punishment” plan put into place to help the child understand accepted norms and values with regards to how they act. Even the smallest amount of positive behavior is praised and encouraged.

Some children may also need to be taught new social skills as a method of coping with the condition. They will be shown what is and isn’t acceptable in public spaces and it will be demonstrated to them how their current behavior affects the people they come into contact with on a daily basis from peers to adults.

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