Bryan is a fourth grader in a regular public school. According to his teachers, he is bright and easily understands the material. He tends to squirm incessantly and has a very short attention span. He rushes through assignments and class work without double-checking, ignoring the insistence of his teachers and parents. He wishes that he was as fast at schoolwork as the rest of his peers, but he usually ‘runs out of gas’. More often than not, he is impulsive and as a result, is frequently involved in fights. Ryan has been diagnosed with ADHD since Kindergarten. ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a psychiatric disorder involving problems with attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. This disorder is commonly diagnosed in children but can continue to adulthood.
One way to increase our understanding of the illness is to examine the genders individually. Boys are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. However, it is unclear whether the illness is more common in boys or diagnosed more easily in them. For girls, behaviours indicating ADHD may be different. ADHD in girls is characterized by forgetfulness, distraction, disorganization, and poor concentration and attention. In my opinion, girls are under-treated and under-identified.
ADHD may manifest in two forms within individuals, sometimes both are combined together. It is important to note that these behaviours need to be carried out in more than one setting for them to be classified as ADHD.
Under this condition, children, specifically boys act more active than usual. Children with hyperactivity cannot settle in one place and constantly have the urge to squirm and move about. This can lead to difficulties in educational settings, where a child is confined to one seat for the first half of the day. Long car rides may be especially difficult for such children who have an urge to move about.
Naturally, the patience level of these children is low. For children this includes blurting out answers without waiting for their turns or not being able to wait in lines. They are unable to control sudden impulses and demand ‘instant gratification’. Therefore, using reinforcements with ADHD children is not effective, because the children want to be rewarded in the moment and not after completing a task or chore.
When people in general act impulsively, they forget the consequences that would result from their actions. ADHD children will grab objects which belong to others without reluctance, because they fail to realize the harm caused to the other person.
Compared to ADHD girls, ADHD boys will be more aggressive. However, girls in general show fewer signs of aggression.
This condition is most likely to appear in girls (but can also be seen in boys) where they are more prone to forget, pay less attention and be disorganized. They make careless mistakes and they have difficulty maintaining an organized notebook.
Attention to detail and the capability to remember is seriously affected by ADHD. Because of this, children with ADHD have difficulty in remembering what assignments are due when. Processes that involve multiple steps mark an obstacle for ADHD children. In sequential and structured processes, these children forget to go from one step to the next. They fail to understand that some steps are not interchangeable and they may switch their order.
For an inattentive child, these minor details can cause serious issues.
Inattention goes hand in hand with forgetfulness. Children with ADHD cannot focus on one activity for a long time. They have a habit of losing their belongings and pay less attention to games and activities, with the exception of video games.
Typically, because of their aggressiveness, boys with ADHD are easily recognizable in kindergarten or the first grade. Girls exhibit their ADHD in more cognitive forms such as dreaminess and forgetfulness. They are described as spacey.
Parental guidance and education is a powerful tool for countering ADHD. Early signs of ADHD are often disregarded and treated as normal behaviour, but parents should observe their children’s activities more closely to find clues or hints of ADHD. If in question, the parents should consult a child psychologist or licensed therapist rather than rely on kindergarten or school teacher’s opinion. If diagnosed at an early age, children will be able to learn how to cope with it better.