Between the age group of 3-12 years, children are active and the syndrome is usually not recognized by parents because they are only thought to be always excited. Usually, the symptoms of a hyperactive child are not easily recognized by parents, according to several reports and published studies. The parent may feel that the child is excited and active as most children are in their growing stage between 3 to 12 years. But if the child becomes unusually aggressive or gets too anxious or cries or fidgets often, then it must be noted.
Common behaviors with hyperactivity are:
- Constantly talks and frequently interrupts others
- When sitting down, keeps moving
- Quickly and clumsily moves from place to place
- Usually bumps into things or people
- Has to pick up everything and play with it
- For meals and other quiet activities, the child has trouble sitting
Hyperactivity is mainly characterized by noticeable lack of attention and presence of restless behavior. It is a behavioral disorder when the child constantly seems to move about even in those situations that are not appropriate or may fidget excessively or wear others out with constant activity.
Characteristics of Hyperactivity
- Impaired attention: Usually, they get distracted by irrelevant stimuli and in activities that require moderate attention and effort..
- Very impulsive: They find it difficult to adapt themselves to different contexts and find it difficult to control their interactions. Before reflecting, they respond impulsively and they want to share their thoughts aloud. They cause interruptions continuously due to their impatient nature.
- Poor academic performance: Their academic environment is seriously affected by lack of attention and restlessness.
- Low self-esteem: Sometimes, also the personal relationship is affected. Since they cannot act like others, their self-esteem is impacted.
- Excess motor activity: They engage in movements that are unplanned and cannot be controlled by them.
Spotting the Signs
A lot of energy is displayed by children when they are small. So, it is difficult to figure out whether they are hyperactive or not. But certain signs and symptoms may be characteristics of a hyperactive child. It is necessary to treat the child immediately if the child shows any one or more of these symptoms:
- Lack of concentration: Child may not lack concentration only because he is naughty or mischievous. Hyperactive children are extremely restless and cannot concentrate on anything for a long time or pay attention to details. For example, they can’t stay seated for long and pay attention to a time-consuming task.
- Aggressiveness - Children who are hyperactive find it difficult to relate themselves with the others around them accurately. Watching the way your child behaves with other kids can tell you whether your child has ADHD or not. For example, while playing a game the child is irritable or hits another child.
- Extremely impulsive behavior: Many kids suffering from ADHD start getting restless and find it difficult to be around people. This behavior is often accompanied by crying and shouting spells.
- Emotional/intellectual immaturity: You need to recognize the problem, especially if your child is younger than his or her counterparts.
- Attention seeking: Hyperactive children are extremely demanding. Because of their behavior, the parent is forced to constantly be with them.
Other signs include:
- Being overly squirmy and fidgety
- The child may talk and make noises excessively
- For calm activities, such as eating or reading books, the child may find it difficult to stay still
- The child is in motion constantly or runs behind toys
A hyperactive child may have difficulty sitting still or relaxing or playing quietly. The child may have a quick temper or short fuse. Since these children censor themselves less than other kids, their impulsivity may cause problems with self control. Hyperactive children will take others' space, ask questions that are irrelevant, make observations that are tactless, interrupt others' conversations, and even ask questions that are overly personal.
For such children, instructions, such as "just wait a little while" or "be patient", is twice as hard as it is for youngsters. Hyperactive children may tend to overreact emotionally and may be moody. Such a child may be viewed by others as weird, disrespectful or needy. They may act without even thinking. In other people’s conversations or games, the child may intrude or may guess the answer rather than solving it and taking the time to find the answer. In class, such a child may give out the answer without even hearing the full question or will not wait till he or she is called. Hyperactive children may say the wrong things at the wrong times and interrupt others. They may not be able to keep their powerful emotions in check and then it usually results in either temper tantrums or angry outbursts.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The primary features include hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive behavior. Before the age of 12, the symptoms begin and as early as 3 years of age, the symptoms become noticeable in children. The symptoms of ADHD can be mild or moderate or severe or the symptoms may continue until adulthood.
ADHD has three subtypes. These are:
- Predominantly inattentive
- Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive
- Combined, which is the most common
A variety of symptoms can be presented by hyperactivity in children, such as higher than usual activity, poor impulse control, inability to focus and difficulty sitting still. Usually, parents like to go for any treatment that does not need typical stimulant-based drugs. In this situation, dietary options are also there and along with medications, they can be used.
The characteristics in children with hyperactivity will differ. Each case should be fundamentally approached in an individualized way. Support should be provided in order to adapt to their needs. Parents should encourage their children and work on their frustrations as well. Managing ADHD is not an easy task, but it is definitely possible with the right care.