Hyperactivity in children
What is hyperactivity child syndrome?
Parents may have observed throughout their experience how their children are more active or overexcited in certain times than in others. These changes are natural in the life of children.
Hyperactivity is a persistent conduct disorder. It becomes detrimental to the child's daily life, and it is characterized by impulsivity, inattention and too much motor and / or vocal activity (they move or talk too much). It is also known by the acronym ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
It is a neurological syndrome prevalent among the population, a most common problem behavior during childhood, which may or may not persist into adulthood.
Children with ADHD often have low self-esteem, insecurity and a negative perception of themselves (they have difficulty relating to others, they do not want to sit at their side, constantly scold, etc..).
How do I know if my child is hyperactive?
Childhood hyperactivity is a disorder that can be subjective, and therefore must be detected by a third person, an expert, usually a teacher or psychologist.
It is estimated that ADHD affects 3-7% of children and adolescents. The causes of hyperactivity can be very diverse: hormones, genetics, diet or other environmental factors.
The hyperactivity is closely related to attention deficit disorder (ADD), which may occur with or without hyperactivity. ADD sometimes occurs in children distracted, who often finish their projects, pay little attention, and find it hard to concentrate. ADD is most frequently related to hyperactivity, but they do not always occur together
Hyperactivity in adulthood
Hyperactivity can persist into adulthood, in which case it is called "residual attention deficit disorder " and it is thought to affect 3% of the population.
In adulthood symptoms may occur differently, as loss of short term memory or common symptoms such as poor concentration (more information in the listing above).
HYPERACTIVITY SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN
Hyperactive children have several of the following symptoms, in different environments (not just at home or at school), and they are persistent over time. These observations may be subjective and we always recommend an expert's opinion.
Among the main symptoms, we have the following:
- Difficulty to undertake everyday activities, like setting the table, brushing teeth, showering or cleaning up toys.
- Difficulty relating to peers.
- Children who do not listen when spoken to directly, or they seem to be in a "waking dream".
- Difficulty concentrating, especially when it requires constant attention (reading, writing, painting, make a recipe, writing exercises, math, etc..).
- Easily distracted even when doing activities or games they like.
- Difficulty starting homework and finish them.
- They find very difficult to do homework and achieve the school tasks daily.
- They forget things they have lost.
- Apparently children may seem unmotivated or "drifters", but they are not.
- Children who need to be constantly moving, running or jumping for going to some place, playing with their feet, with objects, swaying when standing, " they can not sit still", etc..
- Impulsivity to speak, interrupting conversations or answering questions before being put away.
- Disruptive behavior may occur, challenging or aggressive in some cases, and being involved in fights (teenagers).
- In girls, this disorder is usually diagnosed less often as the symptoms are more difficult to define in some cases. They mainly have attention deficits, school failure (although there have good skills) and anxious behaviors.
Depending on the symptoms, it is classified into two types of hyperactivity, although there may be a third type, which is a combination of symptoms of both.
- Predominantly Inattentive: Children who have difficulty listening when spoken to directly, struggle to get going, undertake daily activities, listening in class, playing with objects and easily distracted, difficulty interacting with peers, seemingly unmotivated.
- Predominantly hyperactive or impulsive: that move or talk constantly, impulsive, they do not leave to finish sentences or regularly whistle, sometimes naughty, often get up from the chair, rise furniture; they may or may not annoy their fellow, sometimes show defiance.
- Combined: with impulsive and inattentive symptoms at the same time.
Psychology in hyperactive children
- Explain what is expected of them with precise instructions. Avoid phrases like "behave yourself" or "today you behaved very well" for well-defined instructions: "after playing, pick up toys" or "very well, you have collected your toys".
- Praise what the child always does or what she/he says, making it clear what he/she has done well (positive reinforcement): "Congratulations!, You solved the problem yourself you thought you could not do."
- The teacher can write on the school agenda a positive reinforcement, to be read by parents.
- Accompany and provide a high degree of confidence, accept as he/she is. Point out their best qualities, we must remember that they are children with low self-esteem.
- Reward when appropriate. In certain cases, for example if you made something very boring, you can reward with trading cards, stickers, movies, or activities they enjoy. The awards are always given after the activity and should NOT be the norm or motivation "if you do this, I will give you this."
- Monitor what they are doing at all times to make them feel accompanied and valued (you know you're seeing that he/she does what we have asked), and to avoid the chaos after performing the task.
- Order errands and do activities together (recipes, trips, visits to the zoo, etc..).
- Be patient to the changes that occur.
- When behaving improperly, explain what they are expected to do: "Stop throwing toys down" (avoid "stop being bad"). If the behavior persists, do not insist on giving the same statement over and over again: assist stop without losing control of the child, wait for it to calm down and propose another activity, order an errand, etc.. Praise tem when they do the task.
-Positive Instructions. Children often receive an endless list of "noes": "do not scream" → " Do not speak so loudly," "do not run" → "give me your hand", etc..
- Do not remember the bad behaviors to the child, yell or threaten. Avoid excessive punish. Contact the psychotherapist for the most appropriate form of punishment in each case.
- A psychotherapist is necessary to help the child and accompany him on this change. He/She can teach study skills, homework help to organize the day, plan homework, etc..
More information about hyperactivity natural treatment in the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.