Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 7, 1444 H
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ADHD: Living life out loud, naturally, unrestrained and differently

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I have chosen to highlight Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, this week, in response to a student, Rawaa al Saqri’s research on the topic piquing my interest, thereby encouraging me to share my experiences of the condition, from an educational perspective.

Not only a child disorder, as it is generally a lifetime condition, and while World Health Organization (WHO) research, by Berk Ustun of the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, has discovered an algorithm that offers an ADHD screening scale for adults, of only six questions. Unfortunately, the same experts believe child ADHD diagnoses cannot be made based on only one test. Most specialists require a physical examination, several patient interviews, and further discussions with parents and teachers.

The resultant diagnosis requires a child to be demonstrating at least six symptoms of clinical inattentiveness, or the same number of hyperactive and impulsive behavior, all examples of excessive self-focused behavior. That is why the condition requires specialized diagnosis. Studies by Peter Wehmeier this social and emotional impairment, due to its constancy, as affecting a sufferer’s quality of life significantly, and consequently tends to draw its most intense focus from parental and educator perspectives, concerning children.

Your child may not have ADHD, even if they display many of its symptoms, as during childhood, the different ways every child responds to the family, school, and differing social and societal environments, can affect each, any, and every child in different ways. Also, their responses at specific times and to different stimuli may well appear inattentive, impulsive, or hyperactive, somewhat self-absorbed, and certainly for extended periods of time.

ADHD has the potential to become a social rather than medical condition, as some parents, especially those with several children in quick succession, get so tired from the conflicting childish behaviors and responses, that it becomes almost a social phenomenon to ‘parentally diagnose’ their behavior, thus virtually excusing it by ‘sweeping it under the carpet,’ of convenience. Other parents, rightly and wrongly, recognize inattention as tiredness or carelessness, and nothing to worry about, “just kids being kids.” Even, some teachers may see children, though inattentive, as good pupils because they are not disruptive. Its identification is a minefield of contradictions.

ADHD positive children do not display social skills, pick up on social cues, have difficulty making and sustaining relationships and friendships. because they don’t recognize sharing or taking turns. They are usually unaware that at opposite ends of the behavioral and relationship spectrums, they can be excessively intense and careless. ADHD presents as a spiral, appearing unreliable, losing track of discussions, misinterpreting instructions, and being easily distracted, affecting group, and even family interactions.

Those with ADHD have it difficult, while their peers certainly do not have it much easier. Over-reactions are common, as are meltdowns and lashing out, which are not the best basis for lasting friendships, and schoolyards being what they are, they may well be ostracized and ‘picked on,’ at school. However, in class, their cognitive and intellectual abilities will probably see them function effectively enough, and occasionally even excelling. As is often said... “they have more ideas before breakfast, than we have in a week.”

Despite how common ADHD is, doctors and researchers still are not sure what causes the condition. It is believed to have neurological origins, though genetics, reduced dopamine, and even physiological differences may play a role.

First described "an abnormal defect of moral control in children," and of which it was said that "affected children could not control their behavior the way a typical child would," ADHD is still as much of a mystery today as it was fifty years ago, and a genuine topic of debate and research for these times, not disabilities, but collections of different abilities.

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