Does my child have ADHD or not?

hyperactivity-clipart-toonvectors-11797-140ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a term that has been flung around quite loosely by lay people. Every time a child presents with concentration problems the diagnosis of ADHD immediately presents itself as an easy route to a possible solution, because all you now have to do is to consult a doctor for a prescription of meds. But the whole arena of concentration problems is far more complex than what is commonly perceived.


First and foremost I would like to reiterate the fact that not all children with concentration problems have ADHD and therefore the first step in intervention is not to consult a medical professional. In my opinion only a few children with concentration problems have authentic ADHD. As a parent, before you rush off to the doctor, first consider the following:

  1. Young children (preschool and to a certain extent primary school children) are still very active and prone to be distracted easily. They haven’t learned yet to stay focused for extended periods of time on especially school related paper and books tasks.
  2. Some children haven’t been exposed to structure or a disciplined way of doing their school work and therefore appear disorganised and distractible.
  3. Some children are totally unmotivated to learn. They may have had little to no exposure to school related paper and books work. Consequently they find it extremely hard to pay attention to be able to do their work according to the set standard in a particular grade.
  4. In conjunction with the previous point some children on entering Grade 1 are still emotionally immature and consequently they still want to play instead of being confronted with the work demands pertaining to Grade 1 curriculum. They are just not ready for “work”.
  5. Some children grow up in circumstances at home where they experience a lot of emotional stress or even abuse (physical and/or emotional). Thus their thought processes are continuously interrupted by fears and worries which hinder them from staying focused.
  6. Finally there are the children who have real chemical imbalances - to such an extent that it becomes very hard for them to filter out “nonsense” messages in their brains. They are continually bombarded with impulses that prompt them to immediately act on them. These children have authentic ADHD.


To diagnose ADHD is therefore not only an act of observation or even asking a few historicity questions.   A more lengthy intervention process than a mere consultation or two (that so often is the case when consulting most medical professionals) as well as experience of the child’s reaction towards certain measures taken to filter out all the possible alternatives mentioned above are needed before any diagnosis can be made.


In my next blog I will give you some pointers on how to address the factors mentioned in this blog that have an influence on concentration.   The blog's name is:  Ruling out possible factors causing concentration problems.  In the meantime feel free to state your ideas and even add to the possible factors influencing concentration problems.