Pilot to screen children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

State education department has initiated a project to identify the prevalence of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) among school children. ADHD is a disorder that causes hyperactivity, inattention and behaviour problems in children.

The department has given Malleswaram-based Sattvam Homeopathic Speciality Clinic the go-ahead to screen children in 10 Malleshwaram schools in the first stage. It is expected to start off in a few weeks.

The department may make policy decisions on treating children with ADHD based on the data, says Tushar Girinath, Commissioner at the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Sattvam Clinic, a 27-year-old establishment, currently specialises in treating children with ADHD through a combination of homeopathy medicine, clinical psychology and therapy.

Of the 10 schools in the pilot project, five are government schools and five private. Doctors at the clinic will hold a 2-3 hour session with teachers of class 1-6 of these schools. Teachers would be given basic information on ADHD; they will also be given forms in which they have to rate their individual students on ADHD symptoms.

A one-day training session for school teachers by Sattvam Clinic last month, supported by Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology. Pic: Sattvam clinic

On receiving the filled up forms, the clinic will assess the forms free of cost and send the data to the concerned schools. "If schools or parents approach us on specific cases, we will provide treatment to such children. All data will go to the DPI – we hope this will create awareness and prompt the department to take further action. General public and teachers may also become more aware," says Dr Deepak Shah, Director of Sattvam Clinic. The clinic already does ADHD assessment for eight private schools in the city.

Dr Shah says the prevalence of ADHD is high, but that it tends to be ignored by parents and teachers. He says that he gets about 40 cases of children with ADHD per month. Dr Shah says that awareness is necessary since many parents tend not to consult doctors.

Girinath says that data from the screening alone may not be enough to make a policy decision, but it would start off the process. "The 10 schools in the pilot project is a small sample. We will discuss with government’s ‘Ayush’ department for alternative medicine, and also allopathy doctors to know about prevalence rates and best course of treatment," he says.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder with symptoms like hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity.

A checklist for ADHD (Courtesy Sattvam Clinic):
ADHD symptoms:

Child is:
Always on the move
Distracted easily
Rarely follows instructions
Forgets and loses belongings

Always:
Shakes hands and feet continuously
Taps pencil or toys constantly
Runs around in the room
Gets angry easily
Has weak memory

And cannot:
Plan ahead
Sit still
Perform well in class
Wait for turn
Concentrate

Symptoms can be obvious in children as young as 4-5 years of age.

Children with ADHD may have difficulty concentrating, being organised and sitting quietly. They may move around constantly, frequently lose things and have temper tantrums. They are usually poor performers in school. Early indications are of teachers complaining about child’s behaviour and poor grades.

If not treated, the symptoms can progress into adulthood, and cause problems like difficulty in financial management, holding down jobs or even anti-social behaviour.

Dr Satheesh Girimaji, Professor and specialist in child psychiatry at NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) cites a 2001 study by ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) done in and around Bangalore. The study shows that 1.7% of children in the age group of 4-16 years suffer from ADHD.

"About 30-40% of children with ADHD go on to lead normal lives after treatment. A small percentage may not respond to treatment," he says. In NIMHANS, behavioural therapy and other forms of psychosocial therapy is used in all cases. "Medication is needed in more severe cases only," says Dr Girimaji.

While allopathy medication helps manage ADHD, Dr Shah says that homeopathy also effectively manages ADHD markers. "There has not been much research in homeopathy on ADHD specifically. But homeopathy has medication for improving the functioning of neurons in the brain and correcting deficiencies of neurotransmitters, helping manage ADHD," he says.

About Navya P K 241 Articles

Navya P K is a former senior staff journalist at Citizen Matters, and a freelance journalist based in Kerala.

4 Comments

  1. hello good morning dr. lakshmi my self i am a asst professor in pharmacology dept in pharmacy & i do fell that my son may be suffering from adhd do you provide any physciatrists whom u feel experts in diagnosing biz the treatments drugs available are having adverse effects and there is no proper diagnosis methods were find hence please help me in this regard. my mail id is nandeeshad@gmail.com

  2. Sorry for the repeat comments. Please read the ” CHECK LIST” for ADHD . All the children will fall into this category. That’s the very nature of children.

    Earlier our children who were little difficult we’re not branded and were not given prescription medication. They are Ll doing well as adults.

    It’s hypothetical predictions that these little more active children will be On my way! Sociopaths in future.

  3. Its shocking to read that school children are going to be screened for AdHD. I am a psychologist. I have been referred by schools and pediatricians to assess school children for ADHD.

    Children do act out, do get cranky, do get out of control occasionally , their attention span is less and are over active . This being normal for children, why are we suddenly expecting them to behave themselves like adults . We expect them to pay attention all the time, sit quietly and conduct themselves with out disturbing the class or the teacher.

    Labeling the children ADHD is totally an injustice meted out to children. Why ?

    Because: there are no medical or biological tests to prove that a child has ADHD. The labeling is based on opinions. And based on the biased or otherwise opinions, psychiatric drugs are prescribed to children. These serious psychiatric drugs have severe side effects and could make the children a zombie.

    When withdrawn these children get violent. The after effects are terrible. It’s time this madness and injustice to children are stopped. You wouldn’t want your child to be the one being labeled based on opinions and prescribed serious psychiatric drugs.

    There are alternatives to handle difficult children at school.

    I request citizen matters to extend their support and help and save these to be branded children by intervention.

    Thanks

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