Friday, April 18, 2008

Paranoid or normal?

I had a short conversation with a close friend recently and we were comparing notes about our daughters. Hers is just a year younger than Caitlin and both of them seem to be pretty active girls. We find them lacking in focus at times and do not pay attention when we talk to them or give them instructions. We both feel guilty like bad mums when we lose our patience and start yelling, scolding and labelling them.

We have wondered before if our kids are hyperactive or have ADHD. We know that pre-school kids tend to be active, imaginative and have short attention span, but how do we know if they are the 'normal' version or the 'disorder' version? Are we just paranoid or is this concern normal for parents like us who have kids who can't sit still, who love to do just about anything and everything and get on our nerves all the time?

I guess the answer is for us to get educated about such conditions before we start becoming doctors and diagnosing our kids and freak out unnecessarily.

Here are some links I came across:

ADHD in children

Another problem that some children may have could be Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). I had only learnt about it after another close friend shared that her son had been diagnosed with it a couple of years ago. Thankfully, he is doing well and all I can say is that she is amazingly capable in managing her family of four kids together with her husband.

She shared in an email that "Sensory processing disorder now affects 5% of children -that is one in 20 children. This is a lot! It shows up in many other learning disabilities and disorders eg in 70% of children with autism (by the way autism incidence is now 1 in 104 boys - an explosion in the past decade). Unfortunately , most of the behaviours/symptoms that show up in children with SPD are written off as misbehaviour, ADHD, hyperactivity,etc. The most common behaviour - unexplained and uncontrollable tantrums (due to fear and overload of the nervous system to sensory input) when the child is in crowded, new places or in transitions... Somehow the brains of the children are not wired to make sense of the sensory information they receive (eg visual, hearing, touch, pressure, sense of space and balance etc) and it interferes with their daily activities, learning and social interactions. If you know of a child who has SPD, the most important thing is to start intervention early. That is the key for a good outcome."

She also recommended this site for more information.

Or you can Google to find out more about any of these disorders. There are lots of websites and forums you can check out. However, if we are seriously concerned, the best thing would be to consult a doctor.

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