It is a common mistake to group all students who are poor in studies into one category and label them as dumb, naughty or careless. Every child is born with a natural curiosity to learn about her world. However, due to certain problems, some children are not able to perform as per their potential in academics.
One such reason is ADHD. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, is the most common reason for difficulty in studies. The disorder has three components:
This refers to difficulty in sustaining attention for a long period of time. The child gets easily distracted or appears lost. This is especially prominent while reading. Such children also get bored very easily. Their lack of attention to details causes them to be untidy, disorganised with their belongings and lose their personal things very often. The child may be able to play video games as most virtual games are very fast and don't require sustained attention.
This is physical observable restlessness. Children are usually more energetic than adults, but the level of activity reduces with age. A child having ADHD appears more hyperactive than other children of the same age. She/he is always on the go, running around, fidgeting or squirming when asked to sit, climbing up, jumping off from dangerous heights and would get irritable when asked to sit quietly.
This means doing or saying things before thinking. The child may have multiple minor accidents due to this, will find it difficult to wait for his/ her turn, will blurt out inappropriate words or phrases, would talk a lot, will find it difficult to play in a team, might hit other children or adults and show other signs of poor self-control.
All three or any one component may be prominent in a child. The major damage that ADHD causes is by interfering with learning by not letting a child pay attention to what is taught. As it is a childhood disorder, it is active during the most important learning years of life.
Almost 50% of children continue to have these symptoms even when they grow up, meaning a lot of adults also suffer from ADHD.
There are medicines available to control the symptoms of ADHD. These medicines are safe and effective if used wisely under a psychiatrist's supervision. The dose is calculated on the basis of age, weight and severity of symptoms. Most parents are afraid to use medications for their children out of fear and concern about the side-effects. One should discuss the same with their doctor, but the long-term consequence of untreated ADHD should be kept in mind before refusing medicines. Most students report a major improvement in their concentration and performance after taking treatment.
Dr. Armaan Pandey is a Psychiatrist based in Mumbai, India. Born and brought up in Mumbai, he completed his graduation in medicine and specialization in psychiatry, from the prestigious Sion Hospital. Apart from getting an extensive training in adult and child psychiatry, he has also done certified training courses in learning disability, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) and transactional analysis.