Friday 26 July 2013

ADHD in Children: FAQ Part 1

These are some questions about ADHD readers posted to me. Hope they are of help to both parents and children with ADHD.

- Typically at what age does ADHD surfaces?

Parents will notice ADHD symptoms in their children before the age of 7. Typically, the symptoms become more pronounced once the children go to preschool where they are required to sit through lessons especially when compared to other kids.

- In Singapore, what age is ADHD diagnosed?

In Singapore, ADHD is only diagnosed when the children are at least 6 years of age. Typically most children with ADHD are picked up in lower primary school from  7 years old to 9 years old.

- How do ADHD children behave and what is it about this disorder that causes them to behave in this way?

ADHD children have two main types of symptoms and behaviour, i.e. the inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types. Most have both types of symptoms.

When kids have Inattentive type symptoms, they have difficulty in paying attention, they make careless mistakes in school,  have inability to stay in or to complete tasks and activities,  appear not listening to and not follow instructions, they are disorganised and lose things like toys and stationaries easily and are distractible and forgetful. 

Hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms include being fidgety, restless and have difficulty staying seated, excessive running and climbing, being always on the "go" and inability to play quietly, talking excessively and blurting out answers before hearing full questions and tendency to disrupt or interrupt activities like classes and will cut queues.

It is however pertinent to note that ADHD children can concentrate if they find something interesting but their symptoms are particularly pronounced when they are bored.

The causes of ADHD are not fully understood. We know that ADHD is hereditary and environmental toxins have also been implicated. In children with ADHD, executive functions which are the processes involving planning, working planning, memory and inhibition and initiation and monitoring of actions are affected.

- When a child has ADHD, what aspects of the child and his/her parents' life is affected ?

ADHD has far reaching consequences for the children and their parents. It impacts not only the child, but also parents and siblings, causing disturbances to family and marital functioning of the parents.

When untreated, ADHD children are found to perform much worse than their peers in school academically. They are seen as different by their classmates and have difficulties making friends and are not invited to social events like parties. Parents are stressed up coping with their behaviour and this often leads to tension between parents. As much more attention is needed for the ADHD child, their siblings are neglected. As a result, family relationships may be severely strained, and in some cases break down, bringing additional social and financial difficulties.