Autism and FAQs
By Dr.ChitraSankar

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is seen in children. Here the main problems are

  1. Inattention
  2. Hyperactivity
  3. Impulsivity

Inattention is a core feature of ADHD. Parents usually complain about this as ‘lacking concentration’.

Here the child is

  • Unable to stay focused for longer than a few minutes
  • Has short attention span
  • Is forgetful
  • Constantly losing personal belongings
  • Does not complete class work, does not copy from the board, does not finish activities that are started.
  • Has difficulty in starting and completing homework and class projects
  • Needs constant supervision to complete the work even though child understands what is to be done. Child also gets easily distracted and this interferes with the ability to stay focused and complete the activity.

Hyperactivity is another core feature of ADHD

Parents usually complain that child is very ‘naughty’.

Child is

  • Constantly physically active, unable to sit still in a place for longer than a few minutes, running, jumping and climbing excessively
  • Not sitting in classroom, getting up to walk around the class
  • Talking excessively, interrupting others, disturbs class
  • Restlessness and fidgety behavior
  • Impatient behavior
  • Inability to take turns, wait in line

This type of excessive activity is seen at several settings namely at home, in the classroom, in the play ground or in other situations also where sitting quietly or being calm is required such as during a visit to a friend’s place or to a prayer meeting etc. The activity levels are present to a degree that it interferes with the child’s ability to function well academically and socially.

Impulsive behaviors are part and parcel of ADHD. Here the child acts without thinking of the consequences, which may lead to constant worry and anxiety for parents. This may be seen as running across the road without looking

Jumping from the top of a wall or tree, riding the bicycle very fast, frequent falls and injuries due to such recklessness.

Such behaviors are usually suggestive of ADHD. These type of symptoms may also be present in some other conditions like anxiety disorders and due to some medications.

If such symptoms are persistent, seen for longer than 6 months, affecting the child academically and socially, it is better to take a professional opinion.

There may also be problems with reading fluency, spellings and math. All these difficulties have to be carefully assessed and managed simultaneously.

Treatment of ADHD

ADHD responds well to medicines. But medicines have to be continued for some time. Medicines do not cure the child of ADHD. Rather, it helps in reducing the hyperactivity, and improves concentration, attention span and behavior. The child is better able to focus on the task at hand. While the child is taking medication, he or she shows improvement, but once the action wears off, then the hyperactivity returns. Along with medication, behavior management is also a must. Parents also need guidance on how to manage the child at home. If the child has any other problems such as learning disability, then that needs to be managed too.