DIAGNOSIS OF ADHD
ADHD diagnosis might be difficult to establish. Hence, it is fundamental for medical professionals (psychiatrists, neuro-pediatrics, neurologists, psychologists or pediatrics specializing in behavior and development) to be the ones who give an informed, definite, and early ADHD diagnosis.
Great care needs to be taken in diagnosing young children with ADHD, particularly if medication is to be considered.
SPECIALIZED ADHD DIAGNOSIS
To ensure an accurate diagnosis the specialist must formulate it based on:
Interviews (gathering information from parents, teachers, and others)
Physical clinical evaluations to rule out medical problems (including vision and hearing screening)
Psychopedagogical evaluations (academic performance and the possibility of presenting learning difficulties is evaluated. Professor´s and orientation guidance team implication is crucial)
Detected comorbidities (if there are other diagnosis symptoms different than ADHD symptoms)
Currently, there is no blood analysis, brain scan or genetic screening to diagnose ADHD. Therefore, it is advised to consult a specialist (even more than one) to gather the most essential information possible.
A child won’t be diagnosed unless symptoms occur continually, over a period of six months, and these affect their ability to participate in age-appropriate activities.
A) INATTENTIVE TYPE
Does not pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school or job tasks
Has problems staying focused on tasks or activities, i.e. during lectures, conversations or long readings
Does not seem to listen when spoken to (seems to be elsewhere)
Does not follow through on instructions and doesn’t complete schoolwork or job duties (may start tasks but quickly loses focus)
Has problems organizing tasks and work (does not manage time well; has messy, disorganized work; misses deadlines)
Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as preparing reports and completing forms
Often loses things needed for tasks or daily life, such as school papers, books, keys, wallet, cell phone and eyeglasses
Is easily distracted
Forgets daily tasks. Older teens and adults may forget to return phone calls, pay bills and keep appointments
B) HIPERACTIVE/IMPULSIVE TYPE
Fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat
Not able to stay seated (in classroom, workplace)
Runs about or climbs where it is inappropriate
Unable to play or do leisure activities quietly
Always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor
Talks too much
Blurts out an answer before a question has been finished (for instance may finish people’s sentences; can’t wait to speak in conversations)
Has difficulty waiting his or her turn, such as while waiting in line
Interrupts or intrudes on others
It is crucial to evaluate various symptoms for an ADHD diagnosis, especially:
- When several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms present themselves prior to age 12 years. More than 6 of the 9 symptoms mentioned before (DSM-V).
- If several inattentive or impulsive symptoms are present in two or more fields, such as home, school, or work, with friends or relatives, etc. More than 6 of the 9 symptoms in DSM-V.
- The symptoms interfere with or reduce the quality of social, academic, or occupational functioning.
- They can be classified by severity: Mild, Moderate or Severe.
Criteria and specifications listed above are based on the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders), which is the most frequently used and recognized worldwide.
Certain children have self-esteem issues and social adaptation barriers that they are unable to overcome due to ADHD symptoms that parents don’t often associate with the disorder.
Simultaneously, ADHD can be connected to other problems and its consequences are appreciated in environments other than school, such as interpersonal relationships with their family, caregivers, friends, etc.
These interrelations are very important for the child´s development.
Comorbidity is a medical term that indicates the presence of two or more disorders that occur at the same time.
Research has shown that people affected by ADHD frequently carry other difficulties and behavior disorders that affect their development and their ability to regulate their emotions. These can cause a significant and devastating impact on their daily lives and environment.
In certain circumstances, comorbidity can be the result of a delayed ADHD diagnosis that has been inappropriately treated. Early detection and diagnosis can reduce the chances of having a coexisting condition.
PREVALENCE OF ADHD COMORBIDITIES
Comorbidity of ADHD with other disorders is between 60% and 80%.
This means more than two-thirds of children with ADHD have at least one other coexisting condition.
The Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Observational Researching Europe (ADORE) study shows that the prevalence of ADHD comorbidities in children and teenagers are:
- Oppositional defiant disorder (A recurrent pattern of negative, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures lasting at least six months) 21% to 60%
- Antisocial disorder (A recurrent behavior pattern of a long and persistent violation of other people’s basic rights and breaking important social norms) 25% a 40%
- Anxiety disorder (The main symptom is intense anxiety that may produce a panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, or another type of anxiety disorder) 25%
- Learning disabilities (reading difficulties, writing difficulties or numerical and mathematical difficulties) 20%
- Depression (Children are less capable of expressing their feelings. Headaches, stomach aches, tiredness and other physical complaints which appear to have no obvious cause. It is a mood disorder that consists of several symptoms: reduced or increased appetite, low energy, low self-esteem, insomnia, etc.) 10% or 30%
- Autism Spectrum disorders (Characterized by extreme impairments in social interaction and communication issues with limited interests and activity.) 33% of children with the Autism spectrum disorder may present ADHD symptoms.
- Tic disorder (motor or phonic duration of sudden, rapid, nonrhythmic movements.) 11%
THE EFFECTS OF ADHD IN DAILY LIFE
Aperson diagnosed with ADHD faces daily demands and threats that impact almost every life aspect or environment.
This disorder is related to academic failure, social difficulties, conflict and crime risks, car accidents, substance abuse, that has an important negative effect in the diagnosed life and people around them.
The effects of ADHD upon children and their families change from early years to teenage years, with varying aspects of the disorder being more prominent at different stages. The disorder may persist into adulthood and may cause professional and personal life issues when left untreated.
The best way to reduce ADHD impact in life is:
Early and accurate ADHD diagnose and treatment
Letting school and other professionals get involved in the child’s treatment
Setting an individualized intervention plan for home and school
Follow the multimodal approach through constant communication between the child’s doctor, parents, and teachers. In the context of this approach, we propose chess as an effective therapeutic resource for most ADHD symptoms
Is ADHD curable?
First of all, we must clarify that ADHD is a disorder, and not a disease, and therefore it is not something that has to be “cured” properly speaking.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can have many degrees and present in multiple ways, depending on whether one symptom or another predominates. It is not a disease that has to be “cured” or “fixed”.
The objective should not be to “cure” ADHD, but rather to learn to live with the limitations that ADHD may imply, in the school, family, social, or professional context.
Learning to live with ADHD sometimes entails pharmacological treatment in the most severe cases. However, a multimodal treatment approach is necessary, which should also emphasize the psychological and pedagogical aspects. Within this context, it is in this last aspect that we propose our Cognitive Training Plans based on chess as a complementary treatment for ADHD. These plans bring together a set of exercises specifically designed to improve the cognitive abilities that require more work in people diagnosed with ADHD: attention, concentration, memory, spatial vision, calculation, planning, time management. On many occasions, physical and motor skills work is also advisable, especially helped by specialized physiotherapy in ADHD and psychomotor skills.
Training Plans for ADHD
We have at your disposal different chess exercises specifically designed for the complementary treatment of ADHD.
These exercises are grouped into three different Cognitive Training Plans