Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and what are some features of ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is neurobiological in nature, and is characterised by the difficulty to pay attention and stay focused, to control behaviour, and to keep still or regulate one's own activity level (hyperactivity).

Although it does not constitute a learning disability itself, it may render learning quite challenging.

There are three subtypes of ADHD:

  • Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type;

  • Predominantly inattentive type, sometimes referred to as ADD (where hyperactive-impulsive behaviour is not so apparent);

  • Combined type (where both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms are equally present).

The following are difficulties, which children with ADHD may present:

Assessment of ADHD:

The screening protocol for ADHD involves a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment.

It also requires a differential diagnosis, whereby potential alternative causes (hearing or visual difficulties; emotional avoidance; developmental problems; absence seizures; hyperthyroidism) need to be eliminated before a diagnosis of ADHD may be made. 

Oftentimes, the symptoms present in ADHD, may be emotional in nature, rather than neurobiological, thus limiting a diagnosis of ADHD. For example, some students, who are inattentive, may be so due to an emotional avoidance response to tasks they deem difficult​. 

Therapeutic Support in ADHD:

When managing ADHD, we combine knowledge and techniques from both CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis). CBT allows us to.. ABA allows us to...


Additionally, we collaborate with the child’s school and teachers by sharing strategies to help the child access the curriculum. Strategies are thus given, both for teaching and for assessment accommodations.

Other challenges faced by children with ADHD:

As with many other conditions, children with ADHD may sometimes present additional emotional and behavioural difficulties. They may present with lack of motivation, low self-esteem, oppositional  behaviour, and poor study skills. We, therefore, also monitor these aspects and intervene where necessary. 

Innatention:

  • Does not pay attention to detail and makes careless mistakes;

  • Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or activities;

  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to;

  • Does not follow instructions or complete tasks;

  • Has difficulty organising tasks and activities;

  • Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort;

  • Is distracted by irrelevant stimuli;

  • Loses/misplaces objects that are necessary for tasks or activities;

  • Forgets about daily activities or commitments.

Hyperactivity:

  • Cannot sit still or fidgets with hands and feet;

  • Gets up in situations where expected to remain seated;

  • Displays excessive energy;

  • Runs around or jumps excessively in inappropriate situations (in teenagers this appears more as impatience);

  • Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities in a calm manner;

  • Talks excessively.

Impulsivity:

  • Begins to answer before finishing hearing the question;  

  • Has difficulty waiting for his /her turn;

  • Interrupts or interferes in others' activities, games or conversations.