Born to BE WILD?

If their behaviour is a real concern, it may be time to hit the books

If your child is impulsive, fidgety, easily distracted and struggles to concentrate, you may wonder whether they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s a possibility – those symptoms all point to ADHD. But they can also be due to other conditions. Rather than jumping to conclusions about why your child is behaving the way they are, it is a good idea to explore all the options. Here are some other possible causes:

Some children on the autism spectrum can become overexcited in stimulating environment and appear to be hyperactive. They may also have issues with social development, something some kids with ADHD can have too.

Low Blood Sugar:
Having hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar levels can lead to some of the behaviour often associated with ADHD, like being unable to sit still or concentrate, or becoming irritable or even aggressive. Kids can experience low blood suger if they eat a lot of sweet and starchy foods that send blood sugar levels soaring, and then crashing. It’s when their blood sugar plummets that they may experience these symptoms.

Sensory Processing Disorders:
These can result in children becoming over or under sensitive to touch, sound, taste, sight, smell or movement. The feel of a certain fabric or the sound of someone slurping their drink, for instance, can overstimulate them and lead to erratic behaviour and difficulty concentrating.

Learning Disorders:
You may think your child is not paying attention, which is why they are not learning, and put this down to ADHD. In fact, they may be trying very hard to focus on what they are being taught, but have a disorder like dyslexia that makes it difficult for them to absorb information when taught traditionally. This can be very frustrating, leading to the outbursts and mood swings associated with ADHD.

Sleep Disorders:
Children who suffer from sleep disorders and don’t get enough shut-eye can display symptoms that mimic those of ADHD, such as having trouble paying attention, following instructions and memorising information.

Hearing Problems:
Young children who can’t hear properly may have difficulty expressing themselves and paying attention. Similary, following instructions can be tricky because they don’t understand what is being said to them. They may even experience difficulties in social situations because they can’t hear what is going on. This can lead to frustration, which then turns into bad behavior.

Vision Problems:
Your child’s teacher may say they are easily distracted, but if they can’t make out what has been written on the board, this can lead to their attention wandering. It pays to get their eyesight checked regularly.

Heart Problems:
A child who seems to be “away with the fairies” might in fact have a heart abnormality, which can affect the flow of blood around the body, meaning they are not getting enough oxygen to the brain. This lack of oxygen can affect brain function, including the ability to focus.

Bipolar Disorder:
Mood swings, restlessness, talkativeness, impatience and difficult behaviour can also be symptoms of bipolar disorder. In fact, according to one study 85% of children with bipolar disorder also meet the criteria for ADHD. Bipolar symptoms don’t usually show up until later in the teenage years, unlike the symptoms of ADHD.