English: A child not paying attention in class.

Image via Wikipedia

Most people imagine a child with ADHD as being extremely hyperactive and causing chaos wherever they go. However, a child can be diagnosed with ADHD for lack of concentration without hyperactivity, daydreaming and impulsive behaviour. Many children are being diagnosed before 7 years old when it might be considered normal to be hyperactive, impulsive or have difficulties paying attention. More boys are diagnosed with behavioural problems than girls but is this because boys are just naturally more active? It could be argued that as increasing numbers of younger and younger children are being diagnosed with ADHD, it is not a problem with the children but with society. Drugs such as Ritalin are given to children to deal with the symptoms of ADHD but it has been said that Ritalin just slows children down. This may have benefits for parents and teachers in coping with behaviour but some ADHD type behaviours may be quite normal in young children. Is the real problem that we are expecting too much of young children? Are we expecting children to sit still in classrooms at too young an age? This relates to my previous blog about children in other countries starting school much later.

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