Salamat Dok: ADHD: Kulang sa Pansin?

By Yam deal Cruz, Multimedia producer, Salamat Dok

Posted at Oct 31 2010 01:18 AM | Updated as of Nov 03 2010 05:36 AM

“KSP or kulang sa pansin!”

KSP or kulang sa pansin is a colloquial term for someone who is perceived to be lacking in attention. We always hear or utter this phrase when we notice someone such as a child who does not follow a standard, norm, etiquette or good manners and right conduct.

Now, that phrase has already evolved. When somebody shows off, we say “He may have ADHD or ADD.”

Others may understand that but many are puzzled. ADHD is the acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The next question will be, “What is it?”

Dr. Jocelyn Eusebio, developmental pediatrician and child development consultant of some major hospitals in Metro Manila defines ADHD as a neuro-developmental disorder – believed to be a strongly genetic or inborn condition.

“The real cause of ADHD is unknown and still being studied. Others believe that imbalance bio-chemical substances in the brain causes the symptoms while many says it’s because of some contributory factors – born prematurely, exposure to toxic chemicals like lead and nutritional deficiency,” Dr. Eusebio adds.

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Some studies show an imbalanced neurotransmitter in the brain that causes ADHD. A neurotransmitter, as defined by, is a chemical messenger of neurologic information from one cell to another.

Experts say ADHD is more common in men than women. To provide an overview that the condition   isn’t as rare as is commonly believed, here are some statistics from the ADHD Society of the Philippines:

  • 80% of adolescents have the symptoms
  • 60% of adults show the symptoms
  • 40%-50% of children with ADHD have learning disabilities
  • 30%-50% of children with ADHD engage in disorderly conduct and exhibits signs of anti-social behavior
  • 35% of children with ADHD do not finish high school
  • 25% of children with ADHD oftentimes fight with other kids
  • 20% to 25% of children experience hyperactivity
  • 3-5% of the world population has ADHD

What about ADD?

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You may also have heard or read about ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder and wondering if it is similar to ADHD. Well, the answer is, yes – they are similar except that ADHD has hyperactivity classification according to Dr. Eusebio.

For you to understand more of the conditions, here are some fast facts!

Types of ADHD and some manifestations

  1. Inactive
    • Difficulty with details
    • Can’t follow instructions
    • Avoids activities that entails mental effort
    • Easily distracted
    • Forgetful with daily tasks
    • Easily loses things like toys, notebooks, and homework
  2. Hyperactive-Impulsive
    • Either fond of playing or quite shy
    • Difficulty in staying in one place
    • Loud when playing
    • Answers question even if not being asked
    • Exhibits impatience in waiting
  3. Combination of Inactive and Hyperactive-Impulses

Some signs of ADHD

Among children

  • Do not get tired easily
  • Unable to control voice
  • Continuously shouts
  • Enjoys running around
  • Goes wherever he wants
  • Loses control in things being done

Among teenagers

  • Restlessness
  • Disorganized studies
  • Unable to do tasks alone
  • Reward or punishment doesn’t affect behavior
  • Engages in risky behavior (unprotected sex, substance abuse)
  • Lack of confidence
  • Poor social skills among others teenagers’

Among college students

  • Poor time management skills
  • Consistently cramming

Among adults

  • Restlessness
  • Disorganized planning
  • Problems with relationships
  • Easily angered
  • Job-hopping
  • Possess rule-breaking behavior

How would you confirm if it is ADHD?

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Dr. Eusebio explain: “First, the child must exhibit signs and symptoms of hyperactivity and or inattention impulsivity for a minimum of 6 months or more. Signs and symptoms should be present before the age of 7 and the signs and symptoms should cause significant impairment in at least 2 settings, home and school.”

If parents have already confirmed that their child has this condition, experts think that putting the child in a special school is necessary.

“As long as the symptoms are treated, the kid can be put in a regular school. Majority of ADHD patients have good IQ’s. Behavior modification is important. Parents should be fully aware that their child has this disorder. Patience and discipline must be balance,” advise Dr. Eusebio.

Michael Phelps

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Did you know that the 2008 8-time Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer, Michael Phelps, was diagnosed of having ADHD when he was 9 years old?

Phelps had a hard time concentrating on his studies but with the help of his mom, he has learned to focus his attention. Swimming taught him discipline

A family with ADHD

Susan Pe grew up not fond of making friends. She said she was engrossed with a lot of things like climbing the roof and trees. Falling from the tree several times didn’t stop her. Her teacher even called her and her family weird.

“I easily lose interest with a given task or work, can’t focus on one thing. I was not diagnosed with ADHD until I got married and my 3 kids were diagnosed to have this condition when they were around 3 and 4 years old,” narrates Susan.

Susan admits it’s not easy to have a family with ADHD. She and the rest of the people in her house have learned how to handle it.

“We need to give them structure but not to the point of giving them all they want because it will confuse them. I need to extend my patience. I tried to do what I could and along the way we sometimes stumble. We had problems but nonetheless, I and my husband let my children know that we love them,” Susan says.

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Was she frustrated having a family with ADHD?

Susan exclaims, “On no! For me it was just a label. That’s what they call it. Like I said, our family has a pervasive characteristic but I can say we’re successful. So, what's wrong with it? I guess my husband and I are lucky that we’re in an environment where ADHD could strive.”

Despite their condition, her eldest son, Michael, has above average IQ and is now into Culinary Arts.  Her daughter, Nicole, is taking up Architecture and her youngest son, Andrew, has already finished Physics, and now taking up Speech Communication, as second course.

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The doctor’s analysis

“What a remarkable success!” That was Dr. Eusebio’s comment about the Pe family.  She adds, “An ADHD patient can be ‘hyperfocused’ on a certain task. Hyperfocus is a distinguishing character of people with this condition. They can master that task to excellence. That’s what happened to Susan’s children and Michael Phelps as well. The Pe family is a typical case of strong genetic condition. They’re very broadminded. They know what to do.”

In ADHD cases, experts reiterate that early diagnosis is important. If the child is below age 4, they don’t usually give diagnosis. Experts say that this age is a child’s “exploratory stage.” As a result, it’s natural for them to be energetic, hyper and persistent. But when the child goes to school and the teacher observes and notices the child to be more active than the others or if the child is unable to perform most of the rudimentary tasks assigned, you have to suspect ADHD.

If ADHD isn’t noticed or ignored during a young age or is not treated, Dr. Eusebio said the condition may  worsen to a certain extent that the person with the condition becomes anti-social, addicted to illegal drugs, or may even commit crimes.

“People should be aware of this condition. We need to educate the people so they understand there this disorder exists. The next time they see someone with signs of ADHD, they know how to react and manage. At school, I always tell the teacher to make this kind of kid sit in front of the class so there would be less distraction and less supervision,” Dr. Eusebio concludes. October 17, 2010