Hyperactive child, understanding and helping

He moves constantly, accumulates stupidity, never finishes what he started ... Contrary to common prejudices, the hyperactive child does not is not only a little agitated, whose overflowing energy would exhaust the parents. It is above all a child in pain, whose evil is hidden behind the acronym ADD / H (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder). The point on this syndrome more complex than it seems with François Bange, psychiatrist.

Anne-Laure Vaineau

"He does not hold up, and if he was hyperactive?" This question, many parents today have already asked. By dint of hearing about it, on television or in the newspapers, the hyperactivity sometimes appears like a real scourge which would touch an incalculable number of small agitated. The reality is different. Being hyperactive is actually suffering from a syndrome called ADD / H: Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. According to various surveys conducted around the world, about 5% of children aged 6 to 10 years would be concerned and among them, a majority of boys (4 for 1 girl). But restlessness is far from being the only symptom needed to say that a child has ADHD. Explanations.

Agitation, inattention, impulsivity

"Difficulties related to AD / HD break down into three groups, explains François Bange: agitation, which is usually the first sign to be spotted, that which brings the most parents to consult, but also impulsiveness and inattention. " If the first manifestations of the syndrome can occur quite early, from the age of 3, it is only at the beginning of primary school that we can really begin to ask ourselves questions. Many children have significant agitation between 3 and 6 years of age, but this is often natural, but when this hyperactivity persists after this age group, it begins to pose real difficulties. "

class, it is especially the attention deficit that hinders children. They just can not focus. As a result, they accumulate mindlessness, seem not to listen when spoken to, do not follow the instructions and are easily distracted. They even regularly forget and lose their business. The agitation , which until then passed for a trait of character, becomes really problematic. Children with AD / HD have great difficulty channeling themselves. They move their hands and feet incessantly, squirm, get up, run, climb ... They act as if they were literally mounted on springs.And speak a lot, sometimes very quickly. Finally, the impulsiveness of which they suffer pushes them to act before thinking, and thus for example to answer the questions before having heard the end. They are impatient, and are, for example, unable to wait for their turn. They tend to interrupt others and impose themselves on them.

Careful Diagnosis

Taken alone, symptoms of AD / HD should not cause parents to worry excessively. A child can be very energetic without suffering from hyperactivity, another may have his head in the clouds without it being possible to say that it is a deficit of attention and infantile impatience is after all quite common. It is therefore necessary that several conditions are met so that we can really think of ADHD:

The symptoms must persist in at least two different environments (home, school, extracurricular activities ...).

In retrospect, we must be able to remember the presence of the first signs before the age of seven.

There must be no health or psychological problems that could justify the symptoms (problems of vision, hearing, intellectual retardation, family difficulties ...).

Family suffering, for the child and those around him, must be real.

The other pathologies (autism, schizophrenia ...) must be rejected.

"From one child to another, the presence and intensity of symptoms is very variable, says François Bange, which makes diagnosis as difficult." If a general practitioner can suspect ADHD in his young patient, only a specialist in this syndrome (usually a child psychiatrist, sometimes a neurologist) will be able to make the diagnosis. It must be made to carry out a report, which is based primarily on the observation of the child and the collection of information about him from adults who rub shoulders with him. The assessment consists first of an interview with the parents and a review of the child. Questionnaires designed to assess the intensity and frequency of symptoms are sent to the family, but also to teachers. Finally, the doctor performs a somatic assessment, in order to detect any coexisting problems (epilepsy, dyslexia ...).


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