Childhood hyperactivity is a collection of symptoms associated with excessive mental and motor activity. This is a complex behavior disorder, manifested in inappropriate excessive motor activity, impaired concentration, inability to organize, purposeful activity.
A little from the history of the issue
In the middle of the 19th century, the German neuropsychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann was the first to describe an overly mobile child and gave him the nickname Fidget Phil. Since the 60s of the 20th century, doctors began to distinguish such a condition as pathological and called it minimal brain dysfunction (minimal disorder of brain function). Since the 80s of the twentieth century, the state of excessive motor activity (hyperactivity) began to be distinguished as an independent disease and entered into the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) under the name attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Here I note that hyperactivity is often combined with attention deficit in a child, but not necessarily!
Hyperactivity and ADHD is a serious social problem, as it occurs in a large number of children (according to various studies, they suffer from 2 to 18% of babies) and greatly interferes with their social adaptation. So, it is known that children suffering from this ailment are at risk for the development of alcoholism and drug addiction in the future. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is 4–5 times more common in boys than in girls.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD for short) is a neurological-behavioral developmental disorder that begins in childhood.
The main symptoms of the syndrome are the child’s inability to concentrate; hyperactivity, impulsivity, distraction. Signs are expressed to varying degrees. Children with ADHD have minimal brain dysfunction, as a result of which characteristic behavioral abnormalities are often combined in them with poor coordination of movements, emotional lability, some developmental delay, difficulties in perceiving and assimilating educational material, speech defects and mild neurological disorders detected during a medical examination.
ADHD and its treatment are controversial. The existence of ADHD is questioned by a number of medical professionals, teachers, politicians, parents and the media. Some people think that a disease like ADHD does not exist at all, but opponents believe that there are genetic and physiological reasons for this condition.
Classification of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
There are three options for the course of ADHD, depending on the predominant symptoms:
1. hyperactivity disorder without attention deficit;
2. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (more often observed in girls – they are quite calm, quiet, “soaring in the clouds”);
3. syndrome combining attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (the most common variant).
In addition, simple and complicated forms of the disease are distinguished. If the first is characterized only by inattention and hyperactivity, then in the second, these symptoms are joined by headaches, tics, stuttering, sleep disturbances, etc.
Attention deficit disorder can be both primary and secondary, that is, it can occur as a result of other diseases or as a consequence of birth trauma and infectious lesions of the central nervous system, for example, after a previous flu.
How do hyperactive babies differ from their simply active peers?
1. They are constantly active. If just active kids can read a book with interest, do some painting or draw, then a hyperactive kid cannot focus on one task for a long time, especially if it requires perseverance, sitting in one place.
2. Their movements are chaotic, impractical. In addition, they are constantly breaking something, hitting, overturning. Such clumsy bears
3. Their activity is the same both at home and in unfamiliar places, where natural activity usually decreases. And hyperactive children simply cannot behave otherwise. Even if they are being punished or tried to persuade.
In case of “ADHD”, the following are added to the above symptoms:
1. Inability to concentrate on any task.
2. Difficulties in the perception of speech addressed to him
3. The impossibility of bringing the work started to the end, etc.
In general, the first manifestations of this disease can sometimes be observed already in the first year of life. Children with this disorder are overly sensitive to various stimuli (for example, to artificial light, sounds, various manipulations of the mother associated with caring for the child, etc.), are distinguished by loud crying, sleep disturbances (they have difficulty falling asleep, sleep little, are too awake) , may lag a little in motor development (they begin to roll over, crawl, walk 1–2 months later than the others), as well as in speech development. Such children are inert, passive, not very emotional. In the first years of a child’s life, the main concern of parents is the excessive number of movements of the baby, their randomness.
The age of three is special for a child. On the one hand, attention and memory are actively developing during this period. On the other hand, the first, three-year “I myself” crisis is observed. The main content of this period is negativism, stubbornness and obstinacy. The child actively defends the boundaries of influence on himself as a person, his “I”. Often in 3-4 years, before the child enters kindergarten, parents do not consider his behavior abnormal and do not go to the doctor. Therefore, when the baby goes to the kindergarten and the educators begin to complain about uncontrollability, disinhibition, the inability of the child to sit still during classes and fulfill the requirements, then this becomes an unpleasant surprise for the parents.
All these “unexpected” manifestations are explained by the inability of the central nervous system of a hyperactive child to cope with the new requirements presented to him against the background of an increase in physical and mental stress.
Deterioration of the course of the disease occurs with the beginning of systematic education (at the age of 5–6 years), when classes begin in the senior and preparatory groups of kindergarten. In addition, this age is critical for the maturation of brain structures, so excessive exercise can cause overwork. Emotional development of babies suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as a rule, is delayed, which is manifested by imbalance, irascibility, low self-esteem.
All of the aforementioned manifestations are responsible for the low academic performance of children with ADHD in school, despite their relatively high intelligence. Such children find it difficult to adapt to the team. Due to their impatience and mild excitability, they often come into conflict with peers and adults, which aggravates existing learning problems. It should be borne in mind that such a child, due to objective reasons, is not able to foresee the consequences of his behavior, does not recognize authorities, which can lead to antisocial actions. Especially often, antisocial behavior is observed in such children in adolescence, when impulsivity comes first, sometimes combined with aggressiveness.
It is believed that with the right approach to solving the problem, hyperactivity significantly decreases or disappears altogether by adolescence, but impulsivity and dysfunctions of attention can persist until adulthood. Therefore, the correction of such an ailment of the baby should be started as early as possible!
Causes of hyperactivity and ADHD in a child
There is no reliable data on the exact causes of hyperactivity and ADHD. Some of the studies speak of congenital or even hereditary factors, some attribute this to an unfavorable course of pregnancy and childbirth, some to the consequences of past illnesses and psychotraumas, and there is a share of authors highlighting disturbances in upbringing and problems in the psycho-emotional sphere of the child as the root cause.
In my opinion, the truth is somewhere in between. And, probably, all approaches are partly correct.
As a psychologist who has experience working with such children and their parents, I give the palm among the causes of hyperactivity and ADHD in a child to the microclimate in the baby’s family, the nature of the relationship between parents and children, and the relationship system as a whole.
Let’s try to understand what emotional state is predominant in a hyperactive child?
Remember all the signs I described and try to imagine when you are behaving in the same way? For example, when your boss raises his voice to you? Is there difficulty in concentration, inability to concentrate, clumsiness in movements? Do you miss one thing or the other, trying to find the item you need? Of course, not everyone reacts this way and not always, but I think it is clear that the described person is anxious. So hyperactivity can be replaced with hyper anxiety. Such children are very much anxious about a little, in our adult opinion, occasion.
And if you try to analyze: what is the basis of anxiety? In fact, not fear, as many believe. Fear is always objective. We can say with confidence what we are afraid of. Most of the anxiety is not directed at anyone. It is difficult to explain and not logically justified.
Anxiety is the tip of the iceberg called negative feelings. After all, only those who cannot calmly respond to the remarks of their superiors will become alarmed in the described situation. A person with the ability to express his dissatisfaction will begin to defend his position, if he is right, or will calmly accept the criticism of the leadership. Or, in the end, he will not work where they are shouting at him for no reason. But only a person who does not know how to be aware and express his feelings is prone to experiencing constant anxiety.
Now let’s get back to hyperactive children. These are the children, inside of whom there are a lot of unexpressed feelings, hidden in the depths, as a rule, negative ones, which for obvious reasons they cannot express.
These reasons, as a rule, are associated with mistakes in upbringing. If a child is not allowed to express his disagreement, anger and other strong emotions, if upbringing is built on fear, authoritarianism, punishment, then negative feelings accumulate. If a dad or mom comes home from a hateful job worn out, tired, undeservedly criticized by the same boss, then the portion of negativity will fly to where? The answer, I think, is known. In an innocent kid who, for example, accidentally spilled something or just and naturally wants your attention, talking excitedly about the events of the past day. In this case, is it worth it to express the responding anger to mom or dad? God forbid! He will get even more, if not physically, then verbally – by shouting, threats and rudeness. What is left for the child to do with his natural resentment, anger and other negative feelings in such a situation? Of course, for safety reasons, hide them in yourself.
We all already know that feelings are accompanied by corresponding bodily sensations. Negative ones cause the body to contract and strain. Remember what happens to a highly tense muscle? At a critical moment, a spasm and a release of this tension. So, in fact, through excessive mobility, children release the tension that they accumulate in connection with something. An overabundance of the same negative feelings is also caused by any illness or injury. And if the mother is also prone to anxiety, then this only intensifies the negative experiences of the baby.
And then the situation develops in a vicious circle. The more active the kid, the more reproaches and criticism he hears in his address. This leads to an even greater overflow of his jug of feelings with all sorts of resentments, fears, irritations and anger. And the more activity is needed to relieve this tension. And the criticism is growing. And then more educators, teachers are connected … Everyone makes their own weighty contribution to the fragile inner world of the child.
And what to do with all this, you ask me? And I will give you my favorite axiom again! Works – 200%!
“Parents are healthy – children are healthy!”
Dear, dear parents! Work on yourself! Become a healthy role model for your child. After all, as you know, children adopt the behavior of their parents, and not their words …
Remember that your special children need much more understanding and patience from loved ones. Without your support and confidence that everything will be fine with him, it will be extremely difficult for him to solve this problem. And without the manifestations of your love and unconditional acceptance of it, it is simply impossible.
And if you are not all right with the nervous system, then how can your baby be calm and harmonious?
Correction of hyperactivity and ADHD
The first and most important thing is the work of adults on Their inner state and behavior.
Further, parents who suspect such disorders in their children, at whatever age it happens, should consult a neurologist and examine the child, because sometimes other, more serious diseases are hidden under the guise of ADHD. It is advisable to undergo a comprehensive examination.
It is conditionally possible to distinguish three stages of the diagnosis of this disease.
The first – subjective – includes a subjective assessment of the child’s behavior based on generally accepted diagnostic criteria. In addition, the doctor asks parents in detail about the peculiarities of the course of pregnancy and childbirth, about the diseases suffered by the child, about his behavior. A detailed family history is taken.
The second stage is objective, or psychological. The parameters of the child’s attentiveness are measured by the number of mistakes made by the child when performing special tests, and by the time he spent on it. It should be remembered that such studies can only be carried out in children from the age of five to six.
At the third stage, an electroencephalographic study is performed. This is done to objectively assess the state of the child’s brain. There are more modern studies using magnetic resonance imaging. These examinations are harmless and painless. Based on the totality of the results obtained, a diagnosis is made.
The treatment should be made complex, that is, if it is really necessary, it should include drug therapy, and psychological correction is obligatory. Perhaps work with a psychologist will take place all over the world, or a child and a mother, or individually with a child. But, in any case, without correcting the behavior of the parents, working with the child is practically useless.
The child needs and it is important to feel the support of the parents!
Technical Advice to Parents:
Organize your daily routine as clearly as possible. Develop a certain order for the baby, which should not be changed in any case. In such a situation, the child will have a simple reflex, for example, to sleep after a fairy tale or after the lights have been turned off.
The child should be in the correct, predictable environment, without unnecessary annoying factors. This is very important, because he can react to any sudden situation with a strong burst of energy. Where to direct this energy? It is already clear.
The child concentrates poorly
It is possible that a hyperactive child in kindergarten does not want to adjust to the general order. Of course, this is difficult, because the parents are not around. Therefore, to begin with, talk with the teacher about the existing problem, try at home to bring the daily routine closer to the daily routine in the kindergarten, do not pamper your baby – if you need to sleep now, put it to sleep. He’ll get used to it soon.
Do not limit the actions of the child, because this is how he spends his energy, which, as you understand, is above the roof. By forcibly placing a child on the sofa, or by placing him in a corner, you take away from the child the opportunity to expend excess energy, which, by the way, will manifest itself when you put him to bed.
Enroll the kid in a section or circle. It is best to choose a section so that the child moves a lot. But, remember, this should not be just running around, but meaningful actions with some purpose.
If you do not have the opportunity to send your child to a circle, organize it yourself. Set aside a special place where the baby can run, jump and somersault. Such exercises will not only reduce the risk of injury, but will also develop the child’s coordination of movements.
As you can see, working with hyperactive children is not as scary as it seemed.
If your toddler has ADHD or hyperactivity, be sure to Ask yourself questions:
1. What makes your child feel negative emotions? Previous trauma? Inharmonious upbringing?
2. If you cannot find the cause on your own, seek the advice of a psychologist to help you find the answer.
3. Work to eliminate the cause. If these are injuries, then it is necessary to help the child get rid of the fear and anger received at those moments. Here, depending on age, dance-movement or body-oriented therapy, pattern therapy, fairy tale therapy, sand therapy and other areas of art therapy are suitable.
4. Conduct prevention of negative emotions. This requires as much bodily exercise as possible to release the accumulated anger and fear. It is also necessary that the child has the opportunity for physical activity without restrictions. For example, a place where he could run, climb, kick safe objects and “splash out” accumulated emotions.
5. Be sure to work with the baby’s body. Remember, there are a lot of negative emotions “stuck” in his body. If you are not familiar with the basic skills of how to calm your baby through bodily contact, then consult a specialist – dance-movement or body-oriented therapist.
Joy to you and harmonious family relations!