Many children are overactive, particularly boys between the ages of two and five, but very few are truly hyperactive. Hyperactive children are uncontrollable and destructive and do not appear to respond to normal discipline. They are also more often at the extremes of intelligence. Very intelligent children may be bored by the activities available to them, and misbehave to obtain further stimulation. Children with low intelligence may be confused and not understand what is expected of them.
The most severe form of hyperactivity is known as the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very complex behaviour problem. A subtype is attention deficit disorder (ADD or minimal brain dysfunction) in which there is no excess activity.
Patients are most commonly males who inherit the disorder from their father’s side of the family, and it affects between 3 to 8% of primary school students. Boys show more aggressive and impulsive symptoms, while girls seem to have a lack of attention due to daydreaming.
These children are often fidgeting, unable to remain seated for long, unable to play quietly, easily distracted, unable to sustain attention, always impatient, have difficulty in following instructions, often move from one incomplete task to the next, talk excessively, often interrupt or intrude, do not seem to listen, have poor short term memory, often lose items and engage in physically dangerous activities.
Most are average or above average in intelligence, but due to their genuine inability to pay attention and control their impulsiveness often do not take in all of the information in school. Thirty per cent (30%) have a reading disorder and 10-15% have other academic disabilities. It may lead to criminal activity in the teens and early adult life.
The cause may sometimes be due to damage to the basal ganglia in the brain.