Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the common disorders in childhood. It impacts focus, self-control and other skills important in school and daily life.

It is characterized by a pattern of diminished sustained attention and higher levels of impulsivity in a child or adolescent than expected for that age and developmental level. There are 3 main subtypes of ADHD:

  • Inattentive - Children with this type of ADHD have difficulty paying attention and concentrating. They can get distracted very easily. However they don't have much trouble with impulsivity or hyperactivity. Symptoms of inattention are not easily visible and hence may not be very easily identified as a disorder as the child may just be perceived as shy. Many times this disorder is also termed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
  • Hyperactive/Impulsive - Children with this type of ADHD are more hyperactive and could be fidgety and may have difficulty in sitting in one place for long. They could also struggle with impulse control. It's often easier to identify signs of this type of ADHD as they are visible easily. They may not have much trouble with inattention.
  • Combined - ADHD of this type is identified when the child shows significant problems with both hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention.

To confirm a diagnosis of ADHD, impairment from inattention and/or hyperactivity - impulsivity must be observable in at least two settings and interfere with developmentally appropriate functioning socially, academically or in extracurricular activities.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can have its onset in infancy, but most times it is not recognised until the child is at least toddler age.

Children with the disorder show symptoms of

  • Being extremely sensitive to stimuli and get easily upset by light, noise, temperature and other environmental changes.
  • In school, children may start a test rapidly but may only give answers to the first few questions.
  • They may be unable to wait for their turn & may respond before everyone else.
  • They are frequently emotionally liable & can easily set off to laughter or tears.
  • Their mood and performance is very unpredictable.
  • Impulsiveness and an inability to delay gratification are present.

The most common characteristic of children with ADHD

  • Hyperactivity
  • Perceptual motor impairment
  • General coordination deficit
  • Attention deficit (short attention span, distractibility, perseveration, failure to finish tasks, inattention, and poor concentration)
  • Impulsivity (action before thought, abrupt shifts in activity, lack of organization)
  • Memory and thinking deficits
  • School difficulties both learning & behavioural commonly coexist with ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can have its onset in infancy, but most times it is not recognised until the child is at least toddler age.

Myth 1 - ADHD isn't a real medical condition.

The National Institutes of Health, the Disease Control and Prevention and the American Psychiatric Association all recognize ADHD as a medical condition. Research shows that it runs in families, meaning it might be genetic.

Myth 2 - All kids with ADHD are hyperactive.

Hyperactive behaviour is one of the elements of the condition. It is not necessary that everyone with ADHD will be hyperactive. Symptoms of inattention, are also enough to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Myth 3 - ADHD is the result of bad parenting.

ADHD is not caused by bad parenting. Parents do not wish for their children to behave badly. However parenting techniques can often improve some symptoms.

Myth 4 - Only boys have ADHD.

Boys are more than twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with ADHD, that doesn't mean girls don't have ADHD. Girls with ADHD are just more likely to be overlooked and remain undiagnosed. Girls may show the symptoms differently than boys.

Myth 5 - Kids with ADHD will outgrow it.

ADHD is a lifelong condition. The symptoms may change as your child gets older and learns ways to manage them, but the condition does not go away. Most kids with ADHD could continue to have traits throughout adolescence and adulthood.

Myth 6 - ADHD is a life sentence.

Although ADHD symptoms usually continue into adulthood, children learn ways to cope with the symptoms. People with ADHD have plenty of energy, are creative, and can often accomplish more than people who do not have the condition.

Myth 7 - Having ADHD means the person is lazy or dumb.

ADHD does not prove a person's intellectual ability. Some highly intelligent people have ADHD. Often, people with ADHD might be perceived as lazy or unmotivated. The fact is that due to the condition they have trouble doing some activities. This happens even if the tasks are necessary. With redirection, positive reinforcement, and proper management, a person with ADHD can complete any task they undertake.

Myth 8 - People with ADHD are irresponsible.

A person with ADHD may often forget important items. Due to a general lack of organization it may make it seem as if the person doesn't care or isn't making an effort to be responsible. The fact is that an individual with ADHD has a neurological disorder which affects their ability to stay organized. This can be dealt with proper management.

Myth 9 - Only kids can have ADHD.

While the disorder may be more common among children, many adults have it too. Children are more likely to be diagnosed, but many of adults are diagnosed at age 30 or even older.

Myth 10 - Having trouble focusing means you have ADHD.

Only because there is trouble focusing, doesn't automatically mean that it is ADHD. Concentration problems could happen to all and due to a number of factors like stress, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, etc.

Myth 11 - All you need is medication to treat ADHD.

While medications like stimulants and non-stimulants are often necessary to control ADHD symptoms, a combination of treatments is the most effective in the treatment of ADHD. This may comprise of Behavior therapy, Occupational Therapy, etc.

Myth 12 - Medicine for ADHD will make a person seem drugged.

A proper dosage of medicine for ADHD improves a person's focus and increases his or her ability to control their behavior.

ADHD Interventions for Parents

  • Create a List of Rules but be flexible
  • Use Praise – Positive reinforcement
  • Create a Reward System
  • Homework Hour
  • Establish Structure
  • Use Consequences Effectively
  • Aggression Management
  • Break tasks into manageable pieces
  • Limit distractions
  • Encourage exercise
  • Regulate sleep patterns
  • Encourage out-loud thinking
  • Promote wait time
  • Decide ahead of time which behaviours are acceptable and which are not
  • Believe in your child and don't get overwhelmed
  • Seek professional help to cope with the symptoms better