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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Power of imagination


SHE is eight years old, loves animals and has a vivid imagination. In her world, elephants can fly. But when it comes to studies, Aranya has problems concentrating and struggles with her writing. She is suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

   ADHD is a neurobehavioural developmental disorder affecting about 3-5% of the world's population under the age of 19. It presents itself during childhood, and is characterised by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, poor impulse control and distraction. 

   `My daughter is very gifted when it comes to artwork. She loves painting animals, and working with clay. All she needs is a little more time than other children to grasp her lessons. Is that asking for too much?" queries Aranya's mother. 

   Since little is known about this learning difficulty, often children suffering from ADHD are labelled as `lazy' or `dumb' when they struggle with their lessons in school. To raise awareness about ADHD, a series of workshops titled `Celebrating Differences' will be held from July to October at Sitaram Bhartia Auditorium in Delhi. 

   Celebrating Differences’ is an initiative of the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at Sitaram Bhartia Institute to build awareness about various child and adolescent mental health issues and to empower parents and professionals to focus on the well-being of their children. 

   Following the success of similar workshops in 2007, there has been a great demand from professionals, parents and teachers to provide further training. The workshops will cover topics such as understanding ADHD, factors in the success of ADHD, parenting: making it an enriching experience, learning styles and multiple intelligence, ADHD and giftedness, additional support, influencing policies, among others. 

   Says Shelja Sen, consultant clinical psychologist and family therapist, `Children with ADHD are amazingly gifted. They are knowledgeable about issues such as the solar system,wildlife; good with gadgets and have creative minds as compared to regular children. However, often due to lack of awareness these children are not provided with the kind of understanding and support that they require in school. Therefore, we decided to organise these workshops to help empower teachers and parents so that instead of giving up on these children, they can help to tap their potential and guide them to become geniuses when they grow up.'' 

   The first series of workshops from July 26 to September 6 are for parents and teachers from junior school and the second series in October would focus on middle and senior school. 

   While delivering the keynote address at Harvard University's annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association earlier this month, Harry Potter creator JK Rowling underlined the importance of imagination, saying that imagination ``starts with the unique human capacity to envision that which is not.'' 

   There are many children like Aranya, who with a little bit of understanding and support can give wings to their imagination and do well in life.



    Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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