What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, mainly affects the way a child or adult is able to focus on a task and organize themselves. It is a condition most common in children, with between 5 to 11 % of children in the US being assumed to have this ailment.
While it's mostly seen in children, ADHD can affect persons for their entire lives. The stereotype of children with ADHD is that they are always in motion, disobedient and rude. The truth is that some persons may never have these symptoms. They may only have an issue paying attention.
Like many things in life, ADHD seems to generally come with a hidden gift. Typically, pre-teens and teens with ADHD usually have (at least) one thing which they can be intensely focused on, an area in which it seems as if their symptoms suddenly disappear.
What causes it?
ADHD is the result of the way the management systems of someone's brain are wired. It is caused by differences in the development of the brain's anatomy, and is usually hereditary. Approximately 5 to 11% of children are reported to have this disorder and the symptoms can lessen as they grow older. Between 25% to 35% of of children and teenagers carry their ADHD into adulthood.
What is it not?
You may have heard the term ADD, and wondered what the difference was, if any.
ADD, or attention deficit disorder, represents the features of ADHD which are specific to inattentiveness. As you'll notice, ADD lacks the "Hyperactivity" from its acronym. Children with ADD or ADHD are not troublemakers.
Both ADHD and ADD fall under the category of disorders, and are not Learning Disabilities. This doesn't mean that they don't affect a person's learning, but that their effect is much wider than only gathering and reproducing knowledge.
Signs & Symptoms
Common indicators of ADHD include.
Ignores directions and doesn't follow them
Grabs things without permission
Needs constant reminders to stop and listen
Is overly fidgety with hands or feet, especially sitting.
Has issues playing quietly and waiting turn.
Seems daydreamy and easily loses focus.
Has difficulty getting organized.
Is easily bored by tasks.
Has trouble finishing tasks.
Often acts impulsively.
Is an excessive talker.
Gets impatient when things are going too slowly.
Unfortunately for us in the Caribbean, neither the parents nor the educators have been equipped with the proper techniques and materials to teach children with this disorder.
We tend to think that their inattentiveness is due to a bad attitude, when in fact ADHD may be affecting their executive function. Our approach to their learning may need to be completely different based on how and where they are.