Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are psychological terms currently applied to anyone who meets the DSM IV diagnostic criteria for impulsivity, hyperactivity and/or inattention.
It is hard to diagnose ADD/ADHD as there is not just one simple test and often some children may show similar signs when going through personal traumas or experiences such as divorce or a family death. Symptoms in children often include:
- Constant motion and fidgeting,
- Struggles to listen,
- Difficulties to play quietly and often talk excessively,
- Constant interrupting or intruding on others,
- They are often easily distracted and do not finish tasks.
Doctors may classify symptoms in the following types of ADD/ADHD:
Combined type (inattentive/hyperactive/impulsive) – This is the most common form of ADHD in Children and they will show signs of all three symptoms.
Hyperactive/impulsive type – Children will show both hyperactive and impulsive behaviour, but for the most part, they are able to pay attention and listen well.
Inattentive type – These children are not overly active. They do not disrupt the classroom or other activities, so their symptoms might not be noticed. But they do lack attention and concentration.
Development areas to encourage
Strengthen concentration skills at an early age. Help to develop social skills, encourage a variety of hobbies and sporting activities.
Establish and try to stick to routines, the use of clocks and timers can help with this. Allow plenty of time for your child to achieve the task s/he needs to do, for example, homework or getting dressed.
Work towards goals and use rewards as motivation and to boost confidence once achieved.
Activities that they can engage with
Use art and craft materials, Lego or Mechano to help encourage the child to stay on task and to lengthen their concentration span.
Play board games and team sports to encourage social interaction and communication.
Music can help keep your child relaxed and happy.
Create a quiet place where your child can go and be private or have ‘time out’ when they need it.