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Kids are often very active and social. But they definitely work up our last nerves when they do not give attention to what we have to say. In fact, most often, we complain of our kids having a very small attention span.
Research tells us that a kid's attention span lasts anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes only (5-6 year olds) and they cannot hold their interest in a thing for long. Though this is common, inconsistent hyperactivity and inattention can be the early signs of ADHD.
What Is ADHD? How Common Is It Among Children?
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental condition where it becomes difficult to pay attention to anything. This disorder is also marked by the constant need to move around and difficulty in controlling impulsive behaviour as well.
ADHD is often a neuro-developmental disorder that is common among kids but increasingly diagnosed in adults as well.
Almost 10%-20% of children all over the world suffer from ADHD. Interestingly, the chances of kids suffering from the condition increase by almost 4 fold if they come from an English-speaking household.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD?
The most common symptoms of ADHD are attention deficit and hyperactivity. Below are the other signs to properly diagnose ADHD-
1) Children with ADHD often forget to do the tasks assigned to them. They also forget about their friends or even their toys.
2) They may stay away from things that require too much mental effort, like solving puzzles, etc.
3) It may be difficult for them to complete a given task due to their very small attention span.
4) People often complain about excessive fidgetiness in kids with ADHD. Most of the time, they may not sit in one place for a long time.
5) Children with ADHD have trouble controlling their impulsive behaviour and often thrown tantrums.
6) They cannot wait in line for their turn, which gets them into trouble easily.
7) Some kids with ADHD can talk a lot. Most of the times, their subject changes suddenly and you may have difficulty in following their words.
8) They do not seem to listen to you most of the time and should be given instructions repeatedly due to their absentmindedness.
9) ADHD sufferers make silly mistakes in their day-to-day activities and often forget where they have kept their things.
10) They dislike group activities as it would require them to follow the instructions of others.
It may be very difficult to diagnose ADHD in kids as most of the symptoms often are quite common among them. However, if you notice any of the symptoms in your child for more than 6 months, it is time to seek medical intervention.
What Causes ADHD?
There are many researches carried out every day in order to study the causes of ADHD. Recent studies have revealed that ADHD is caused by the combination of genetic and non-genetic reasons. Though, genetic factors cannot be controlled, non-genetic factors are the ones which affect the foetal brain during pregnancy. One research suggests that ADHD has neurological roots and happens when the brain is low of dopamine. (Dopamine is a chemical which helps the brain signal move from one nerve to another.) It also suggests that people with ADHD have less grey matter in their brains.
This can happen due to the below reasons:
1) Over exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy can prevent the brain from developing normally.
2) Drug abuse or excessive smoking during pregnancy. The nicotine and caffeine affects the brain development of the foetus and may cause the kid to develop ADHD later on in life.
3) Low birth weight is also a contributing factor to ADHD.
4) Brain injuries during gestation or in childhood is another reason for ADHD.
Is ADHD curable?
Unfortunately, ADHD is not completely curable but the modern day medications and therapy can help manage the symptoms rather effectively. Most of these aim at improving mental functions.
Based on the severity of the symptoms, children with ADHD undergo medication, therapy or education and training or a combination of these.
Medications such as stimulants can help the brain release dopamine, which can help improve brain function. Nowadays, therapy for ADHD is also getting popular. Although, it alone may not be sufficient, therapy along with medication is known to be much more effective than medication alone.
Education and training for both parents and children will go a long way in managing the condition.
How Do You Handle A Child With ADHD?ADHD in Children: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
Children with ADHD are special and so they may require some special efforts. The first step towards managing your child with ADHD is to understand their symptoms. Some children with ADHD may suffer from extreme attention deficit while others may be particularly hyperactive. It is important to listen to a medical advisor as they will give you tailor made advice to suite your child.
Above all, handling a child with ADHD may need a lot of patience and love from your side.
What Are The Other Disorders That Accompany ADHD?
There are many disorders with symptoms very similar to ADHD such as:
- Dyslexia or learning disabilities
- Oppositional defiant disorder, where children are defiant and disobedient.
- Bipolar disorder.
Your doctor may test your child for these as well because a majority of children with ADHD also have at least one of these conditions.