When a child is jumpy and unable to focus


Photo credit: Shutterstock

Dear doctor,
My son is nine years old and in Class Four. When he was three, he was diagnosed with ADHD. I thought it would go away as he grew older, but he still has many of the same symptoms that he had. Is there a cure for ADHD?
Concerned parent

Dear concerned parent,

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that is characterised by either inattention, which is difficulty with focusing on something for a period of time; or hyperactivity, that is, having excessive movement that does not suit the occasion; or impulsivity, which is acting quickly, on the moment, without giving the action (and consequences) much thought. 

Someone may have one or more of these components, which manifest themselves in different ways in different settings, and may change over time. For example, hyperactivity and impulsiveness in a child may be difficulty sitting still in class, and excessive running around and climbing at home, while for an adult, it may be constant fidgeting and squirming in the seat while in a meeting, and having difficulty waiting in a traffic jam.

ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, especially at the time when children start school (around three years of age). By the time the children reach the teen years, about half of them no longer have ADHD symptoms. However, ADHD can continue into adulthood.

Management for ADHD includes behaviour management strategies, or medication or both. As the child grows older, he/she can also be taught self-management strategies. The support of family and the school community is also vital.

Send your questions to [email protected]