What is ADHD?
ADHD is one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. It is often diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble focusing on one thing, act impulsive or be overly active. They may take a long time to complete work and have difficulties with sustained effort tasks.
Scientists have yet to identify the specific causes of ADHD. However, evidence does suggest that genetics could be a contributing factor, with the condition tending to run in families. Other possible causes include premature birth, a low birth weight, chemical imbalances in the brain, brain injury, and smoking or drinking during a mother’s pregnancy. Such substance abuse may affect the development of a baby’s brain.
As a neuro-behavioural condition, symptoms manifest differently across a child’s lifespan. Symptoms are commonly noticeable at an early age when a child undergoes transitions, such as when he or she starts going to school. These symptoms may include:
- Being fidgety when made to sit down
- Doing work hastily and making careless mistakes
- Not paying attention in class
- Appearing forgetful or losing things
- Interrupting others and not waiting their turn
- Not following instructions
- Talking excessively
- Being unable to play or do leisure activities quietly
- Untidy handwriting
- Refusing to complete work
- Takes a longer time than his peers to complete work
How does the condition impact learning and development?
Although ADHD is not a learning disability, its symptoms affect a child’s ability to succeed in school. This is seen as ADHD negatively impacts concentration and memory. A child with ADHD may fail to plan before writing compositions, not pay careful attention to details and experience difficulty organising thoughts into a written essay. He or she would also take a long time to process information and not be able to complete work within the expected timeline.
Children with ADHD also experience more trouble than their peers with thinking, learning, expressing feelings or controlling behaviour. As they find it hard to regulate their movements, sitting still in class for an extended period of time becomes challenging. Consequently, they may find excuses to leave the classroom and miss out on important lessons and instructions. This would then result in an inability to master assignments or pass tests in school.
Aside from poor academic results, children with ADHD may also get into trouble for causing class disturbance, especially if their teachers are unaware of their condition. They may have emotional outbursts when asked to do things they find difficult or challenging.
Because ADHD interferes with cognitive, schooling, social and emotional skills, many people with ADHD develop a significant amount of stress, depression, anxiety and other psychological conditions. ADHD is also common in children with autism, language disorders, dyslexia and dyspaxia (a developmental condition affecting motor coordination).
How does speech and language therapy work?
Because ADHD can present differently in children and there is a considerable overlap with ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, a detailed psychological assessment is important to determine the type of remediation and interventions a child needs. For example, a gifted student with ADHD will need different kinds of support compared to a student with severe autism and ADHD.
During the psychological assessment, our psychologist will meet with you and your child to gather important information about his or her development, behaviours, family history, parental expectations, parenting style and progress in learning and school.
Our psychologist will conduct a range of tests to determine if your child meets the criteria for ADHD. Some of the tests may include Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Fourth Edition, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, York Assessment of Reading Comprehension, Conners Continuous Performance Test, NEPSY-II and Behaviour Assessment System for Children.
As part of the assessment, our psychologist also assesses your child’s schoolwork and school reports. This helps her gain a wider perspective of the kind of difficulties your child is experiencing.
When treating children with ADHD, partnerships with schools, educators and parents are extremely important in ensuring they get holistic support. Our psychologist has extensive experience working with schools, teachers and therapists on how to accommodate and modify the learning environment so that the child can fulfil his or her learning potential.
She also works closely with parents to help them understand their child’s personality and challenges. Additionally, parents are coached on how to modify and adapt their parenting and expectations. This would encourage good behaviours and develop a growth mindset in their child.
Benefits of ADHD Assessment
Even though ADHD can't be prevented or cured, identifying symptoms early and seeking the appropriate intervention can go a long way in helping children manage their symptoms. Like other developmental disorders such as ASD and dyslexia, early diagnosis is crucial and can make a big difference in how a child becomes successful in life.
This is seen as untreated ADHD can lead to many difficulties later in life. Children with ADHD frequently struggle in school due to a lack of support and misunderstandings regarding their condition, with many people assuming they are simply lazy and unmotivated. This leads to frustration, poor academic performance, low self-esteem and possibly substance abuse and high-risk behaviours in future.
As such, getting your child assessed and diagnosed early can help prevent these serious consequences. Once a diagnosis has been made, our team will work with you to help you understand your child’s condition, as well as ensure they get the appropriate treatment. Such early intervention will enable your child to develop better, and equip them with the tools they need to cope in school and life.