Mental Health : Could your Child have ADHD? - MumsVillage

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Pregnancy & Parenting

Mental Health : Could your Child have ADHD?

Could your child have ADHD? Some seasoned teachers would tell you of that child that they would rather not teach – the restless, disruptive child who cannot sit still, and is always talking in class.

They might even say this child has a knack for picking fights; an aggressive, emotional child. And let’s not count the injuries the child has from climbing, tripping, pushing, being pushed back, missing a step. And the pencils, sweaters and books they lost since they started school. A child like this may be called unruly, undisciplined, a bad seed.

Attentive-children-playing-with-smart-toys

A child like this may actually have a medical condition. This child may have ADHD.

On the other hand, the child may not be that disruptive. The teacher may say that although the child is good, they often seem like they are in their own world. Even during lessons. A bright child who makes many careless mistakes.  The child is forgetful and loses things more than the average child their age. This child, like the other, is likely to trip, run into walls, and have unexplained injuries.

Girl in classroom turning to pose for photo

 

This child may also have a medical condition. This child may have ADD. What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder meaning it begins in childhood. It arises from deficits in certain brain functions. ADHD and ADD can continue to adulthood. When not well managed it can adversely affect the life of the individual.

 

Inattention Symptoms (ADD)

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities
  • Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked)
  • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones)
  • Is often easily distracted
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities

 

 

Hyperactive and Impulsive Symptoms (ADHD)

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless)
  • Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly
  • Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed
  • Often has trouble waiting his/her turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g. conversations or games)

 

But how can you be sure that your child has all these symptoms? Could it just be coincidence, rather than a neurological disorder?

 

These symptoms need to have been present before age 12 and be at least six from either category before evaluating further for ADHD or ADD.  These symptoms also need to be present in at least two settings.

 

A child can have just inattention symptoms (ADD) or just hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. Some children however have a combination of both.

 

ADHD or ADD can be identified by paediatricians, seasoned paediatric nurses, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses as well as clinical psychologists. Educational psychologists based in schools can also help identify more severe cases of ADHD or ADD. Psychiatrists and paediatrics can be found in major hospitals and clinics all over Kenya. Medical insurance covers can also provide options of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. Help is available in both private and public hospitals – Mathare Hospital and Kenyatta Hospital being among the options is in the public care system in Nairobi.

 

Smart-smiling-teacher-giving-instructions-in-classroom

 

Some strategies that can help manage a child with ADHD:

Creating an organization system around the child. A standard place for books, socks, pencils, in the house. It would also help to speak to the relevant teachers in school to see how the system can be extended to school.

Knowledge as a parent on the disorder is very useful in managing your own reactions.

 

Learning to discipline appropriately. Explain the reason behind the punishment and the importance of not repeating the mistake. Remember, a child with ADHD/ADD is prone to repeating the same mistakes over and over because they experience challenges integrating the rules to use in the future. They also react without thinking about the consequences, often a source of trouble!

 

Be patient. The above behaviours and physically and emotionally taxing but are half the time not intentional. As this child grows older they begin to understand that they are in some ways different from others and this can be a source of turmoil. Exercising patience can help you as parent to be more supportive and help the child seek the appropriate help. Schedule an evaluation with your Psychologist if you suspect your child may fall under this bracket. ADD and ADHD are highly treatable and some who have it are extremely high achievers.

 

 

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