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ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER

[ Electroconvulsive ][ Mental Health ][ Hyperactivity ][ Depression ]

Is My Child Hyperactive ?

Many parents find it difficult to manage thier active children. These children would be continually moving about, exploring the environment around them and in the process creating chaos. They may not be able to sit still for even a little while to concentrate on any activity. They want to be first to do anything and find it hard to wait their turn. They don't seem to get tired.

Before any active child is said to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (the clinical term for the significantly hyperactive child, he must show symptoms in 3 basic groups in most settings (e.g home and school).

1.  High level of motor activity
     - always moving about, running
     - can't sit still
     - fidgeting
2.  Poor concentration span
     - can't pay attention to teachers in kindergarten or school
     - can't complete assigned work or play activities even if it is just for a
       few minutes
     - easily distracted
3.  Impulsive behaviour
     - needs to satisfy his own wants immediately
     - can't wait for his turn in games
     - interrupts or intrudes on others

Parents should be careful in not to mislabel their normal but overactive, boisterous children as being hyperactive. Depending on their age and stage of development, a certain degree of exuberance, impulsivit and playfulness are considered normal.

When your child suffers from poor achievement in school or has poor interactions with hyperactivity. Hyperactive children are often considered naughty or delinquent.

When in doubt, do check with your doctor for an evaluation.

Who Can Help My Child...?

The child who is suspected of being hyperactive should be assesssed by a doctor (general practice or pediatrics specialist). The doctor may not then refer the child for further assessment and treatment if necessary to a child psychiatrist. Other professionals who are involved in helping hyperactive children include clinical psychologist, occupational therapists and special education (remedial) teachers.

Parents can do a lot to help their hyperactive child.

Type of Treatment for the Hyperactive Child.

1.  Behavioral techniques to help the child increase his self-control and
     focus himself more usefully on daily tasks and interaction with other
     children.
2. Medications, where necessary, to increase attention span, to reduce
     high motor activity levels and to reduce impulsive behaviour. Among
     the most useful and effective is the group of medication of which
     Methylphenidate is the most prominent. This requires specialist
     prescription.
3.  Support and education of parents & family members on how to
     manage the hyperactive child at  home.
4.  Remedial education for those hyperactive children who also have
     problems with schoolwork. Creating awareness and helping teachers
     to  manage hyperactive children in the classroom.

How to bring out the best in your hyperactive child...?

1.  Get your child's attention first  (before you begin talking). Then make him look at you while you talk. Give clear, concise insructions.
2.  Get your child to repeat for you selected parts of waht you want them to remember. Structure a routine for them. Supervise their keeping to the routine which becomes their responsibility. Reward good,appropriate behaviour.
3.  Allow your child breaks to refresh themselves (during homework,
     studying or chores). They will perform better after a 5 or 10 minutes
     break. Allow them outlets every day to expand their excess energy    
     e.g.running in playing field or playing physically demanding games.
4.  Do not encourage rough unctrolled play between adults and the
     hyperactive child.
5.  For the schoolgoing child, communicate with the class teacher
     frequently.Consider getting help for the child's studies from a suitable
     tutor, if necessary.

Accept your child limitations. If you can make the best of what he has and then gradually help him improve on it, then you will be doing a good job.

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