265 views | Ayodele Ajeigbe | March 9, 2021

Why can’t he stay still? Why can’t she manage to have something done? Why is it that he makes so many hasty decisions? Why is she still so shy? Several teachers and parents have said, “The kid is just being lazy.” A child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has perplexing and contradictory behaviour.  For the infant,  parents,  siblings,  teachers,  and peers,  erratic and disorganized behaviour is a constant source of stress. However, the child with ADHD seems to be normal at times or in some circumstances. Others could believe that the child could do better if she only tried harder or if her parents or teachers set stricter limits. This is a popular belief among many Nigerians. Increased commitment and tougher laws, on the other hand, are unlikely to improve since most children with ADHD are already working hard. They want to succeed, but their lack of self-control keeps them from doing so. As a consequence, they are hurt, confused, and saddened when they are blamed for not paying attention or referred to as “stubborn, lazy, or possessed.” They can be chastised, beaten, or punished or even spanked if they don’t finish their homework or household chores. Regrettably, they do not understand why things went wrong or how they should have handled the situation differently. A child with ADHD may experience frustration, feelings of being different, not fitting in, and hopelessness. ADHD can significantly interrupt a child’s life, consuming a lot of energy, causing emotional distress, lowering self-esteem, and so on.

This is another fact we overlook in a child with ADHD because the world has conditioned us to believe that a restless child who hops about anywhere is either possessed or has ADHD; some will even mark the child as “Autistic” (which we will address in the next edition) when it is not. ADHD describes children or adult that display persistent age-inappropriate symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are sufficient to cause impairment in major life activities (APA,2000). So whenever you hear or you see a child that connects with the society-attributed meaning of ADHD, try to think of what the child may be going through. If you have concerns about your kid, you should consult a specialist – a Psychiatrist or a Clinical Psychologist – rather than a neighbour who can just give you their opinion. Remember that each child is unique, and their signs can manifest in a variety of ways.

Ayodele Ajeigbe (MNACP, MBPsS) Clinical Psychologist

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