Attention Deficit Disorder - ADD/ADHD
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD and ADHD) is a neurologically based disorder, which presents symptoms in three main areas: Inattention, Impulsivity and Hyperactivity.
Once a diagnosis is reached children are classified into one of three subcategories:
- Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity: Are children who are presenting symptoms within all three areas (inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity).
- Attention Deficit Disorder: Where inattention is predominately the area of concern and hyperactivity and impulsivity may exist but to a lesser degree.
- Attention Deficit Disorder and Disruptive Behaviour: Where hyperactivity is predominant but impulsiveness and inattention are not that noticeable.
Areas of Difficulty
Manifests itself particularly in academic and social situations and is classified as an inability to conclude activities. It is also accompanied by a clear disorganization of language and behaviour, such as changing subjects constantly or answering with irrelevant information to a question asked. The child’s play will also be disorganized and they will most likely lose their belongings or forget where they are. In appearance, children with this difficulty, may look dishevelled, with clothes that are stained or out of place, they may also become easily frustrated when asked to sit down for prolonged periods of time, such as eating a meal or writing at their desk. The reason they are unable to conclude activities is because they are easily distracted; these are students who have trouble focusing because every noise they hear is a distractor.
Manifests itself particularly in social situations but will vary in intensity between the school and home settings. It is classified as the impatience or inability to take turns or follow instructions. During a conversation these children will interrupt constantly, in school they will not be able to raise their hand before speaking, follow classroom rules and their movements and behaviour will be clumsy and abrupt. During play children with this difficulty will begin an activity without having listened to the instruction, they may construct and deconstruct objects trying to figure out what they are made of; also they will not be able to determine levels of danger and have frequent accidents. Many times we also see that the child can stay focused completing a puzzle or watching a television program, but will have trouble paying attention to work at a table.
Manifests itself at all times although the level of intensity will vary, it is described as constant movement by the body in one or more extremities. Children with hyperactivity are unable to remain in one place and will move their extremities when standing or seated, as if an internal motor were propelling the movement. These children are not just active physically, but also their thoughts and language is accelerated. They have difficulty remaining quiet, will look to talk constantly, ask a lot of questions and at times their conversation may seem disorganised and out of context. Children with hyperactivity are highly demanding of their environment, they benefit from flexible environments that will allow them the movement that they are seeking.