Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”) is a common childhood disorder that represents developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity and overactivity. It occurs in 3% to 5% of the school age population as stated by (Craighead, Craighead, Kazdin & Mahoney, 1994). Another author (Barkley, 1981) stated that ADHD occurs in at least one child in every classroom. As a result of these statistics, ADHD has become one of the most commonly referred and heavily studied psychological disorders of childhood. Studies show that about 50-60% of children with ADHD in the age range of five to seven years are hostile and defiant. By the time they have attained the age of ten, they have a high risk for conduct disorder problems, such as lying, stealing, running away from home, and getting into trouble with the law. Studies also show that about 20-50% of children with ADHD continue to exhibit the same traits into adulthood.
The symptoms of ADHD were first recognised in the early 1860s, however, formal discussions of the symptoms as a behavioural syndrome was first published in 1902. In later years between 1960 and 1970, researchers stressed the overactivity component of the disorder, which resulted in the use of labels such as hyperactivity or hyperkinesis. However, in 1972, another researcher emphasized the need to consider the child’s inattention and impulsivity as the more pervasive and chronic problems. This resulted in the replacement of the label hyperactivity, with the term Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Children with ADHD can be placed into three (3) categories based on whether they display mostly attention deficits, mostly hyperactivity-impulsivity or a combination of both attention deficits and hyperactivity-impulsivity. ADHD is not diagnosed by any medical tests, but on the basis of the occurrence of certain behavioural problems in children. In order for a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, he or she must show six (6) or more symptoms of inattention for at least six (6) months, be maladaptive and inconsistent in their developmental levels such as:- a) making careless mistakes in school work
b) having difficulty in paying attention during tasks or play activities c) does not seem to listen when being spoken to
d) does not follow through on instructions or duties that have been given e) having difficulty organising tasks and activities that were given by a parent, teacher or guardian f) showing forgetfulness during daily activities
g) often losing things that are necessary for tasks or activities h) avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
i) very easily distracted by other events happening around them
The child must show six (6) or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for at least six (6) months, be maladaptive and inconsistent in their developmental levels such as:- hyperactivity
a) fidgeting with hands and feet or squirming in seat
b) having difficulty staying in seat when being required to stay seated c) does not keep silent – talks excessively
d) having difficulty playing quietly when required to
e) often on the go as if driven by a motor
f) runs about or continuously climbs
a) blurts out answers before questions are completed b) having difficulty in awaiting turn
c) does not wait to be acknowledged, interrupts or intrude on others
Very important in diagnosing a child with ADHD is that the symptoms before-mentioned, must be present in the child before the age of seven (7). In addition to the core diagnostic symptoms, children with ADHD may show a variety of associated behavioural and emotional problems such as noncompliance, poor peer relations and academic underachievement....