What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

The information below cannot be used to diagnose ADHD.  It can only suggest that a person may be a candidate for the disorder.  There are other disorders that have similar signs.  Only an expert in ADHD can diagnose the disorder.  If there is a team with an expertise in ADHD available in your area, please, consult them.  The team may consist of a neurologist, a psychologist, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist and a special needs trained teacher.  Your child’s teacher, your neighbour, your family doctor, your paediatrician cannot diagnose ADHD.  However, your doctor can refer you to an expert or a team of experts.

ADHD is:

A neurological disorder affecting a person’s attention, activity level and impulse control.  This disorder may cause a life-long disability.  However, with proper treatment the effects can “dramatically reduce the family, educational, behavioural and psychological problems experienced by individuals with ADHD” (Sam Goldstein, 2009).  Persons with ADHD are unable to act in the expected manner.  ADHD is only diagnosed if it interferes with the person’s quality of life and is present for a prolonged period of time.

 

What causes ADHD?

  • 80% is believed to be heredity.
  • Severe illness in a young child may cause ADHD.
  • Brain damage during pregnancy and delivery may cause ADHD.
  • Premature birth may cause ADHD.
  • Other causes are still being explored.

Some signs of ADHD (does not have to show all of these):

Hyperactivity:

  • Fidgets and squirms in seat, may fall out of seat.
  • Runs and climbs.
  • Always active – like a motor.
  • Talks constantly.
  • Unable to partake in a quiet activity, such a reading circle.
  • Touches and handles objects, even though told not to.
  • Often takes toys apart rather than playing with them.

Impulsivity:

  • Blurts out answers in class, often before the question has been finished.
  • Butts into conversations. Does not wait for an opening in the conversation.
  • Begins work before instructions are complete.
  • Problems taking turns or waiting in line. Tries to always be first in line.
  • Interrupting other’s play, not waiting until the play is finished before trying to join.
  • Running into the street to fetch a ball without checking for traffic.

Inattention:

Persons with ADHD have diffused attention.  Unable to pay constant attention, for example he may hear the first part of the teacher’s instructions, then Susie opens her book bag and he pays attention to that, however, then a bird flies by the window and again his attention switches.

  • Difficult staying focused on one activity that does not interest her.  She may be able to pay attention to her video games or TV program.   (Not known if she is actually paying attention or just reacting to the images).
  • Difficulties organizing his things or room.
  • Homework not completed on time or not brought back to school.
  • Difficulties completing work at the same amount or level as others in her class.
  • Needs constant reminders to do a task.
  • Has difficulties switching between tasks.
  • Does not appear to hear instructions or when spoken to.
  • Daydreaming
  • Loosing his belongings, gloves, hat, lunchbox, books etc.