Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have problems with attention, controlling their impulses, trouble completing tasks and may be hyperactive. They often have other problems, such as learning difficulties, making friends, oppositional behavior, anxiety and ill-health that may need to be looked into. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention. ADHD symptoms can be caused by a number of other problems, including learning difficulties, social issues, ill-health and other mental health issues.


Signs and Symptoms


  • Symptoms of Inattention
    • Fails to give close attention to details
    • Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
    • Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
    • Does not seem to listen
    • Does not follow instructions
    • Fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties at home.
    • Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    • Avoids engaging in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as homework)
    • Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (toys, school assignments, pencils or books)
    • Is easily distracted by outside stimuli
    • Is forgetful in daily activities


  • Symptoms of Hyperactivity
    • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
    • Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
    • Runs about or climbs too much which is often inappropriate to the situation
    • Has difficulty playing quietly
    • Is overly active or acts as if 'driven by a motor'
    • Talks too much, ask many questions that are often silly and repetitive.


  • Symptoms of Impulsivity
    • Has difficulty waiting his or her turn
    • Interrupts or intrudes on others (such as butting into conversations or games)
    • Will shout out answers before questions have been completed



The assessment of ADHD should include gathering proper information from individuals familiar to the child (parents, teachers, care-givers). Along with this, standardized psychological tools are used for screening of hyperactivity and the attention span.


Conditions for a diagnosis of ADHD:


• A child must display behaviors before age 7. 
• These behaviors must be more severe than in other kids the same age. 
• The behaviors must last for at least 6 months. 
• The behaviors must occur in and negatively affect at least two areas of a child's life.
    (Such as school, home, day-care settings, or friendships).




Behavior Modification


Behavior modification is often put in terms of ABCs: Antecedents (things that set off or happen before behaviors), Behaviors (things the child does that parents and teachers want to change), and Consequences (things that happen after behaviors). In behavioral programs, adults learn to change antecedents (for example, how they give commands to children) and consequences (for example, how they react when a child obeys or disobeys a command) in order to change the child's behavior (that is, the child's response to the command). By consistently changing the ways that they respond to children's behaviors, adults teach the children new ways of behaving. Psychologists remain in persistent touch with the parents and caregivers to watch the signs of behavior at home/school and suggest techniques to be used in such situations.


Occupational Therapy


Occupational therapy for children with ADHD enhances their ability to process lower level senses related to alertness, body movement and position, and touch. This allows them to pay more attention to the higher level senses of hearing and vision. For example, skills related to vision include tracking the object, fixing on the object, changing focus, merging what both eyes are seeing and finally forming a mental image. When all of these are well developed, children can sustain attention, make less errors while reading/writing, give meaning to what they hear and see, and rely less on movement to stay alert. The therapy focuses mainly on reducing hyperactivity, impulsivity, wrong adaptive behaviors and enhances attention and concentration to improve social skills like, co-operative play, sharing skills, develop self-concept / self-esteem, attention, listening skills, taking turns, following directions, cognitive perceptual skills, and produce expected adaptive behavior. The other main areas that are targeted include self-care and school performance.

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