Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is one of the most common learning challenges among children, but may persist through adolescence and into adulthood. Research estimates that approximately 3-7 percent of children have ADHD, and boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls. ADHD is mainly characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Though these behaviors occur frequently in children overall, a child diagnosed with ADHD exhibits them more severely, affecting their daily life and school performance. ADHD symptoms may last more than six months.
The three subtypes of ADHD are: hyperactive/impulsive - the child is always moving and lacks self-control, but is able to pay attention; inattentive – the child becomes easily bored and quickly tunes out, but is generally not hyper and actually flourishes in calm, quiet settings; and combined hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive (the most common form of ADHD) – the child displays symptoms of all ADHD behaviors.
There is no cure for ADHD, but symptoms may be controlled. Medication and psychotherapy are frequently combined to treat a patient’s ADHD. Stimulant medications are the most common types of prescribed medications for ADHD because of their ability to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, and to increase attention span.
Symptoms of ADHD include:
Inattention • Does not pay attention to details and often makes careless mistakes • Has difficulty maintaining attention during tasks or games • Appears not to listen • Has trouble carrying out instructions and doesn’t finish chores or schoolwork • Struggles to organize activities or tasks • Avoids/dislikes tasks that entail prolonged attention • Regularly loses things • Is easily sidetracked • Is absentminded
Hyperactivity/Impulsivity • Has trouble sitting still and frequently leaves his/her seat in the classroom • Is fidgety • Has trouble playing quietly • Runs, climbs or acts out inappropriately • Complains of feeling restless • Talks excessively • Is always on the move • Has trouble waiting and often blurts out answers before the teacher is done speaking • Frequently interrupts and intrudes
Other learning challenges include: dyslexia, a condition that makes learning to read difficult because letters look mixed up or words appear blended together; separation anxiety disorder, a condition in which a child frequently becomes scared and anxious when detached from a parent or caregiver; and conduct disorder, a condition manifested in dangerous and antisocial activities, such as (1) violence toward people and animals, (2) destruction of property, (3) deceit and theft, and (4) a severe breach of rules.
Keywords: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, learning challenges, developmental issues, psychologist, help