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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects the behaviour or development of young children. Children suffering from ADHD show signs of inattention, overactivity or impulsiveness. Many children with ADHD cannot explain why they might sometimes become out of control or feel very lonely.
The normal attention span of children usually develops in three stages, from focusing on only one object for a very long time, developing a wide but rapid attention span, and finally reaching the selective attention stage where they can willingly shift their focus. The last stage is crucial for children to succeed in a classroom setting. ADHD is more common in boys than girls, and children with this disorder tend to start to develop symptoms before they turn 7 years old.
There are three main signs associated with ADHD:
- Being overactive
- Displaying impulsive behaviour, being short tempered and prone to accidents
- Inability to pay attention to or concentrate on tasks
These symptoms bring the following challenges to children with ADHD:
- Learning disabilities and under-performance at school
- Inability to understand the consequences of misbehaving
- Talking to themselves in a childish way
- Depression and inability to control emotions
- Unpredictable moods
- Aggressiveness and inability to exercise self-control
- Inability to follow instructions
- Inability to make friends
- Lying, stealing and engaging in activities with high risks
- Poor social and problem-solving abilities
The treatment of ADHD may include one or a combination of the followings:
- Educate the child and his/her family on behavioural change
- Prescribe medication to regulate chemical imbalance in the brain and target brain areas responsible for concentration and self-control
- Offer psychological counselling to help improve self-esteem
It is important to note that education and psychological treatments may need to be used together with medication to ensure the best outcome.