Understanding Hyperactivity in School Children
Countless times we hear children described as hyperactive, but what exactly does this mean? Teachers you have to understand this situation
Parents with hyperactive children usually feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, angry and hurt, especially when the crowd begins to judge and questions their parenting skills.
Hyperactive is a disorder. Medically, it is referred to as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The condition is more common in boys than girls. The disorder may vary in intensity and most children will express some of the symptoms sometimes.
Unfortunately, there are no specific tests, so a diagnosis is based on observing the child’s behavior. Psychologists group the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as follows;
Children in this category do not give attention to detail, make careless mistakes in their school work, hardly listen to what they are told, dislike and at times avoid tasks that require sustained mental effort. They often lose materials necessary for tasks or activities such as pencils, books and toys. Hyperactive children find it hard to settle down and do tasks assigned to them.
Children in this category normally shout out answers before a question is finished, fidget with their hands and feet and often twist in their seats. They find it hard to queue or wait for their turn in group situations, games and activities. It is hard to get them keep quiet. They are always running and climbing in inappropriate situations.
The combined type
Children who fall in this category have symptoms of both the inattentive and impulsive. A hyperactive child is very inattentive, impulsive; always fidgeting, hardly listens to authority and many times is branded as a nuisance.
Hyperactive children are filled with energy. They find it hard to focus and hardly stay seated for long. They cannot settle down to do their tasks or play. Sometimes they fail in class not because they are dull, but because they plan many things at once.
You could tell them to do one thing and they do another. They often lag behind their classmates, mainly because they are unable to concentrate. Even during exams they tend to write very quickly without giving the brain time to think.
Another good way to tell whether a child is hyperactive is to observe when he or she is with age mates. Hyperactive children have problems when it comes to relating accurately with those around them. They are normally irritable and aggressive with playmate and always fight over small things.
Many people tend to attribute such behavior to poor parenting. However, psychologists say poor parenting only makes symptoms worse, but does not cause hyperactivity. Hyperactive children are good at modeling what their parents do, so parents need to be careful with what they say and do when around their children.
What causes hyperactivity?
Research shows that hyperactivity ruins families. If your child is hyperactive, chances are, there is a relative who has or had similar characteristics.
Exposure to toxins, like lead, during pregnancy can cause hyperactivity.
Nutrition: specialists say poor nutrition plays a big role in aggravating symptoms of hyperactivity. There is evidence that certain additives, particularly refined sugars and artificial food coloring found in many junk foods may trigger hyperactivity. Junk food has, for a long time, been associated with hyperactivity. Increased intake of refined sugars causes high sugar levels in the blood and triggers adrenaline which gives way to hyperactivity.
Minerals magnesium, zinc and iron deficiencies have been linked to the disorder. Foods with artificial color also worsen the symptoms especially if a child is sensitive to a particular color.
Hyperactivity results into social problems
When hyperactive children grow up, they may be rejected in society and may end up withdrawing from associating with others. Generally speaking, when dealing with children, hyperactivity is often considered more of a problem for schools and parents than for a child. But there are a number of cases where many hyperactive children are unhappy or even depressed.
When dealing with other peers socially, hyperactive children may exhibit behaviors that make them a target for bullying, or make it harder for them to relate with other children.
School work may be more difficult and hyperactive children are frequently punished for their behavior.
If not handled with care, they may end up with delinquent behavior as they grow. Some parents keep saying such a child would outgrow the stage, hence do nothing about it. However, when hyperactivity starts to become a problem for the individual or others, it can be classified as medical disorder that requires attention. More severe cases of hyperactivity can be very harmful if left untreated.
Proper Nutrition is central
Proper nutrition cannot be left out in management of the disorder and, should, therefore, be considered as part of the treatment protocol. Specialists recommend that 90% of sugar be cut from the diet and that no artificial sweeteners should be used. Nutritionists advise that parents avoid foods with artificial color such as sweets and colored soft drinks.
The most sensible approach to nutrition for children with the disorder is a diet that provides plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good sources of proteins and less fat.