Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental condition that can be diagnosed and is used to describe children who typically exhibit overactive behaviour (hyperactivity); impulsive behaviour; and have difficulty in paying attention. This impacts their education and make many of them underachieve at school.
How do we know it is ADHD?
There are a number of risk factors attached to ADHD. It is often inherited and there is an increased frequency among the first-degree relatives.
Other risk factors include low birth weight, smoking, taking opioids or drinking alcohol during pregnancy, brain injury, lack of oxygen at birth, and some conditions such as epilepsy.
It is important to recognise that not all children with ADHD have all the symptoms.
What problems can ADHD cause?
A diagnosis of ADHD will often lead to children being labelled as “difficult and demanding”. They struggle to ‘fit-in’ at all stages of development.
Also, a child with ADHD may suffer from other conditions, such as:
Children with severe ADHD can:
Teaching and managing students with ADHD
One of the most important stages in teaching and managing a student with ADHD is to try and understand how they see the world around them.
Students who have ADHD explain that they get lots of different thoughts at the same time. They feel unpopular and know that sometimes they are difficult to like. From their perspective, nobody seems to understand them.
From a teacher’s perspective, yes, it can be frustrating when a student is constantly fidgeting and disrupting the whole class. However, let’s see it this way: a student with ADHD presents every teacher not just with a challenge, but also an opportunity to find new ways of teaching and managing their student successfully.
The key is to accept that the student is not doing it on purpose. It is a genuine medical condition, which requires specific support depending on severity of the symptoms. Students with ADHD can become defiant and hostile when faced with criticism. This damages their whole attitude towards learning. Although some teachers will find it difficult to see situations in this way, this approach will help maintain a positive relationship with students with ADHD.