ADHD or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder later
develops into Learning Disability in children. Some of the problems children with ADHD face
include poor academic performance, delay in motor milestone development and low
self-esteem. Children with ADHD usually become introverts and lonely
given the lack of peer-interaction. Jamuna Rani, Occupational Therapist at
Pebbles Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Chennai, explains to
Medindia how to identify, seek help and make sure children with ADHD cope with
academics and society.
What are the
signs of ADHD in Children?
teachers are complaining that your child is not listening in class or is
constantly distracted, comes home with his notes incomplete because he finds it
difficult to copy from the board and his handwriting is poor, then, consider
these signs as red flags that require immediate attention. Usually such
children are ignored by teachers; other children don't want to be seen spending
time with them, making children with ADHD lonely. To make things worse parents
add to the existing trouble by pushing for better academic performance, all
resulting in the child's low self-esteem and sometimes even instigate suicidal
tendencies in children. Occupational
Therapists observe physical problems such as weak proximal
stability which result in bad handwriting
. Proximal stability includes co-ordination of
upper joints and hip joints which help in holding a pencil, the pencil grip and
the posture while writing. Behavioural Issues include temper
tantrums, restlessness and adamancy
which are some of the
ways for children with ADHD to draw attention because they can't cope with the
rest of the clan.
Occupational Therapist Intervention help ADHD Children?
psychology of children with ADHD must first be understood in order to deal with
them. Getting them to mingle with other children is induced through group
therapy. This way social interaction develops, a child is motivated to do an
activity. For example if an introvert child is in a group with a hyperactive
and or extrovert child, then the introvert child imitates the other. This boosts the child's confidence enabling
the child to initiate similar responses in class when a teacher asks a
question. Hence with positive reinforcement such as applauding with claps or
giving stars with each improving act, the child will eventually volunteer in
school with, 'I will answer'.
children with ADHD have poor reading skills and lack co-ordination, visual
memory is also poor. An Occupational Therapist will address one issue at a time
where the initial component to be treated will be to increase sitting
tolerance. After identifying the child's interest concentration will revolve
more on those activities which begins with simple ones that get done in a
matter of 2 seconds and then gradually move to complex activities such as
puzzles and word formation. These activities are age specific and cater to the
IQ level of the child.
foremost step is to calm the child because at an early age most do not know
that they are undergoing treatment whereas students belonging to the 5-7 age
group are aware that they are finding it difficult to cope with studies and
even copying notes. Time that ADHD children spend with Occupational Therapists
is not like being in a tuition class where the rest of the children belong to
the same age group, same IQ level and with same grasping ability.
improves with physical exercises to increase proximal stability like bilateral
coordination activity that aids children to copy notes from the board. For
children who cannot copy notes after the midline leaving their sentences
incomplete, the attention span will also be limited. In such cases midline
crossing activities helps children in increasing the visual memory
What happens if the
condition is left Untreated?
Occupational Therapists warn that
if children with ADHD are not treated the number of failures will be more
resulting in more depression and even suicides in children. Unmotivated, they
will not be able to predict what would follow and would start lacking thinking
ability. They will soon be convinced that they are bound to see only failures
in life. Children in high school know about their poor performance but parents
are ignorant that some of their children's problems such as poor memory and
reading disability have been ignored in early stages in life. The inability to
cope will degrade the morale of the child, especially when parents shut areas
that are of interest to the child and focus only on academics. Children with
psychological problems do not all the time have learning disability but
children with Learning Disability will have psychological problems.
How can Parent's / Guardian's contribute and help?
If someone is supportive then a
child can be rescued. If at early stages a child has problem with identifying
alphabets or writes inverted characters or mixes up letters then the child has
to be taken to a specialist who can identify the child's basic problem and
advise a course of education that will support the child's development and not
undermine it. Only a strong foundation, attention to details, encouragement and
support from parents and carers and the society at large will ensure a smooth
progression from childhood to adulthood for children with learning