According to an article by Health24, in 2017, South Africa had the highest rate of prescriptions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In the past 20 years, there’s been a 10% increase in the number of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. This is according to a 2018 article by Washington Post.
Parents and teachers cannot diagnose ADHD. However, they can identify the red flags. Director of The CareJunction Sam Smith says it is vital to know the difference between ADHD and Attention Deficiency Disorder (ADD).
“ADHD is characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity, defiance and inattention. It is important to note, however, that you get ADD which is also an attention disorder often missed because the children are reticent within the classroom and extremely internally distracted,” Smith says.
However, both of these disorders require attention, as they can create barriers to learning. While a lack of focus might be one of the signs of ADHD. A diagnoses can only be made by a medical professional. “Child Psychiatrists or developmental paediatrician are best placed to do this,” Smith says.
Some of the red flags to look out for are dreaminess in class, defiance, impulsivity, hyperactive or extremely busy, poor performance academically, poor organisation and forgetfulness.
If you notice some of the signs as a parent. You should reach out to your child’s educational and therapy teams. They can advise whether a medical assessment is needed.
“Sensory processing difficulties can often appear similar to ADHD. And as such having an occupational therapy screener may be beneficial. This can assist the parent in deciding whether a more in-depth medical assessment is necessary,” says Smith.
When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, medication, and diet are critical elements to managing ADHD.
“Although medication is generally not popular in certain cases, when managed by the appropriate medical professional, and monitored properly. Medication can make a big difference to behaviour, attentiveness and academic performance,” she says.