Understanding what ADHD means-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
THE American Psychological Association (APA) defines Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity impulsiveness [that is] revealed before the age of 7 years.
It states that ADHD is more common among boys and that despite that its etiology or cause remains uncertain, there is an association between its occurrence among certain families that indicate the possibility of genetic predisposition.
APA also informs that ADHD is likewise associated with child neglect, lead poisoning and exposure to certain drugs by the mother in the course of her pregnancy.
For Sheila Videbeck, an advanced psychiatric nurse practitioner, ADHD is usually identified and diagnosed when the child begins preschool or school.
In terms of causes, she agrees that etiology is unclear. However, she has published in the ‘Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing’ that a combination of factors such as environmental toxins, prenatal influences, heredity and damage to the brain structure and functions are likely to be responsible.
Adele Pillitteri, a doctorate in nursing and an advanced pediatric nurse practitioner writes in ‘Maternal & Child health Nursing’ that ADHD is characterized by three major behaviors: inattention; impulsiveness; and hyperactivity.
“Inattention makes children unable to complete tasks effectively”, she maintains.
“They become easily distracted and often may not seem to listen”.
Furthermore, “Impulsiveness causes them to act before they think and therefore have difficulty with such tasks as awaiting turns at games,” she points out.
Lastly, “with hyperactivity, children may shift from one activity after another, exhibiting excessive or exaggerated muscular activity, such as excessive climbing onto objects, constant fidgeting or aimless haphazard running”.
According to Videbeck, no single treatment has been found to be effective against ADHD.
“ADHD is chronic, [therefore] goals of treatment involve managing symptoms, reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity, and increasing the child’s attention span”.
She emphasizes that “the most effective treatment [for ADHD] combines pharmacology [use of medications] with behavioral, psychosocial and educational interventions.
In a similar vein, Pillitteri suggests the following nursing interventions for children with ADHD:
(1) Controlling environment of child by contracting a stable learning environment that is free of stimulating distraction;
(2) Chores assigned to ADHD children must be broken down into several steps rather than a single order to allow them time to process things in their head;
(3) If medications are prescribed by the psychiatrist, make sure to administer them as prescribed. These medications are supposed to control excessive behavior;
(4) Family support is very much needed that is best manifested in understanding the condition rather than growing short-tempered and irritable especially at times that the child manifests hyperactivity or inattention.
Meanwhile, various literature sources share the following assessment findings for children with ADHD:
(1) school children with ADHD may excessively run from the back of the room to the front of the room, to the window, to the teacher’s desk, to their own desk all throughout the class session;
(2) They perform repetitive activities such as pencil tapping, arm swinging and finger tapping;
(3) They seem to have ‘all-or-none’ reaction to stimuli thus, at times they fail to respond to their parents, teachers and peers;
(4) They may also have difficulty with concepts such as as ‘right’ and ‘left’, ‘before’ and ‘after’ or ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’;
(5) They may fail to correctly sequence the words that they use in communicating to other people;
(6) They do not have deficits in intelligence although they seem to for other people because of their impulsive behavior.
This week is also known as the ADHD awareness week.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 25, 2013.