Hyperactivity is a conduct disorder in children, first described in 1902 by Still. These are children who develop an intense motor activity, who move continuously, without all this activity having a purpose. They go from one place to another, being able to start some task, but they quickly abandon to start another, which in turn, they leave unfinished.
This hyperactivity increases when they are in the presence of other people, especially with those who do not have frequent relationships. On the contrary, they decrease the activity when they are alone.
According to Still, these children are especially troublesome, possess a destructive spirit, are insensitive to punishment, restless and nervous. As well they are difficult children to educateSince they can seldom keep their attention on something for a long time, so they often have problems with school performance despite having a normal IQ.
They are very impulsive and disobedient, they do not usually do what their parents or teachers tell them, or even do the opposite of what they are told. They are very stubborn and stubborn, while at the same time they have a very low threshold of tolerance for frustrations, so they insist a lot until they achieve what they want. This, together with their abrupt and intense moods and their impulsive and easily excitable temperament, causes them to create frequent tensions at home or at school.
In general, they are children who are incapable of being still at the times when it is necessary for them to be. A child, who moves a lot at recess and play times, is normal. What happens to these children is that they are not still in class or in other specific tasks.
Childhood hyperactivity is quite common. It is estimated that it affects approximately 3 percent of children under seven years of age and is more common in boys than girls (it occurs in 4 boys for every girl). In 1914, Dr. Tredgold argued that the causes are due to a minimal brain dysfunction, a lethargic encephalitis in which the behavioral area is affected, hence the consequent compensatory hyperkinesis; explosiveness in voluntary activity, organic impulsiveness and inability to sit still.
Later, in 1937, C. Bradley discovered the therapeutic effects of amphetamines in hyperactive children. Based on the previous theory, he administered brain-stimulating medications (such as benzedrine), observing a marked improvement in symptoms.
- 0 to 2 years. Clonic discharges during sleep, sleep rhythm and eating problems, short sleep periods and startled awakening, resistance to routine care, high reactivity to auditory stimuli, and irritability.
- From 2 to 3 years. Immaturity in expressive language, excessive motor activity, low awareness of danger and a propensity to suffer numerous accidents.
- From 4 to 5 years. Problems of social adaptation, disobedience and difficulties in following the rules.
- From 6 years old. Impulsiveness, attention deficit, school failure, antisocial behaviors and social adaptation problems.
Treatment depends on each individual case. The most widely used pharmacological treatment are stimulants, which help the child to concentrate better, and sedatives in the event that the child shows psychotic features. Psychotherapeutic treatment is aimed at improving the family and school environment, favoring a better integration of the child at the same time, applying behavior modification techniques.
The cognitive treatment is based on the approach of carrying out tasks, where the child learns to plan his actions and improves his internal language. From the age of 7, internal language assumes a role of self-regulation, which these children have not so developed. To carry out any task, they are taught to first assess all its possibilities, to concentrate and to check the partial and global results once completed.
Symptoms can be classified according to attention deficit, hyperactivity and impulsivity:
1. Difficulty resisting distraction.
2. Difficulty to keep attention in a long task and difficulty to attend selectively.
3. Difficulty exploring complex stimuli in an orderly way.
4. Excessive motor activity or inappropriate.
5. Difficulty to finish tasks already started.
6. Difficulty to stay seated and / or still in a chair.
7. Presence of disruptive behaviors (of a destructive nature).
8. Inability to inhibit behaviors: they always say what they think, they do not hold back.
9. Inability to put off rewarding things: They can't stop doing the things they love in the first place and put off duties and obligations as long as they can. They always end doing first what they will.
10. Cognitive impulsivity: precipitation, even at the level of thought. In games it is easy to beat them for this reason, because they do not think twice before acting, they do not foresee, and they even answer questions before they are asked.
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