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Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Support Group of Southern Africa - ADHASA
What is ADD/ADHD and how does it affect children?
ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, although internationally ADHD is the referral term that includes both ADD and ADHD. ADD/ADHD is a term used to describe a group of children who have many problems in common.
We differentiate between three sub-types namely:
Predominantly inattentive with little or no sign of impulsivity and hyperactivity
Predominantly impulsive and hyperactive with little or no attention difficulties
The combined type - these people are very distractible, hyperactive, and impulsive.
AT WHAT AGE CAN ADD/ADHD BE DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis should only take place from the age of 5 to 7 years although some of the symptoms could be present from birth. It is important that the symptoms, as per the DSMIV, be present for a period of more than six months in all situations. Symptoms usually appear before the age of seven, although diagnosis may only take place much later.
WHAT COULD LOOK LIKE OR MANIFEST AS HYPERACTIVITY?
It is very important when considering a diagnosis of ADHD, to rule out other conditions that can look like ADHD.
These could include:
Allergies, Asthma - Difficulty with breathing can interrupt a child's concentration and cause ADHD-like signs
Diabetes/Hypoglycaemia - These conditions relate to the quantity of sugar in the blood and can cause changes in concentration and activity levels
Hearing or Visual problems - The inability to see or hear what is going on in the classroom can lead to behavioural outbursts, incompletion of work and disturbing of classmates and hyperactivity
Iron Deficiency - Can lead to attention and impulsivity problems
Lead Intoxication - Can lead to hyperactivity
Learning problems - If a child is frustrated from learning disabilities, he or she may have ADHD-like behaviour
Emotional difficulties - This could be due to a divorce, death in the family, an accident that could manifest with hyperactivity symptoms
IT IS THEREFORE CRUCIAL TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO NOT MERELY TREAT SYMPTOMS BUT THAT WE HEAL AND TREAT THE CORE OF THE PROBLEM
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