ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which includes two types of conditions; Inattentiveness and Hyperactivity. This disorder develops in children and continues up to adulthood. For a common person, knowing how to diagnose ADHD, should not be the matter of concern but they shall be aware of how to behave around people suffering from such a condition.
This is the reason why spreading awareness about ADHD is crucial. Pakistan is far off from western countries in managing such issues due to lack of awareness, late diagnosis, long untreated period and difficulty in approaching a proper mental health specialist. There is also a lack of specialty in this field. Moreover, first line medications for such patients are psycho stimulant medicines which are not easily available in Pakistan. So psychiatrists have to go for second line medications for managing the behavioral issues of their patients. We as part of the society should learn to be understanding, compassionate and patient towards people with ADHD because divisions only lead to more divisions.
“Not a disability but a different ability”
According to a psychiatrist Dr. Aasma Kiyani “parents are usually exhausted when they approach mental health specialists so they are mostly comfortable with the diagnosis of their child and are more interested in treatment prognosis”. She further explained that it is very easy for parents to notice the symptoms of hyperactivity in their children if they see them overactive or uncontrollable around the house.
However, the symptom of inattentiveness is not very frequently caught in parent’s sight and this results in a late diagnosis which may lead to academic decline, nutritional deficiencies, physical injuries, exhaustion, harm to oneself, parenting burden etc. Thereby, parents are suggested to build conversations with their children and try to understand what their child is going through. Similarly, the Headmistress of Special Children Bahria College explained how ometimes parents even after bringing their children to such schools are not ready to accept that their children are “special” or have a disorder.
Self-confidence originates from one’s family. However supportive their friends are, if a person’s family is not ready to accept their ADHD, the person would never be able to accept himself. This lack of awareness among parents would portray a wrong image to their child that they are not a part of this society and a mere burden on their parents. Families have to ensure that they remain to be a perpetual support for their children.
Other common reactions:
Other people that a person with ADHD frequently might come across could be their fellow peers, classmates and teachers at school etc. It is equally important that they know how they should react around such people. Young people don’t really understand which of their actions can affect another person mentally or emotionally. Hence, they are always requested to be compassionate and patient towards people with ADHD in specific and in general toward all.
The medically able people have more social skills compared to a person suffering from this disorder so they shall be the ones to make the first step to initiate a friendship and not judge them.
Secondly, the schools in Pakistan play a great role in such people’s lives. If teachers hold a student with ADHD responsible for disturbing the decorum of the classroom and punish them instead of putting themselves in their shoes and understanding their situation, it would lead to nothing but resentment. Teachers should be supportive, should make such children sit in the front row and repeatedly question if they are understanding or not. Moreover, if they believe that the student has attention problems and may have a specific disorder, the message must be conveyed to parents as soon as possible and with immense care and respect.
We suggest that educational institutions should start awareness campaigns and steps against bullying to not only protect people with ADHD but everyone against discrimination. Furthermore, following the analysis of the situation in Pakistan regarding this issue, we would like to urge the government to set up more special schools with all sorts of facilities for such people. Conclusively, after conducting several surveys we found out that there is a major lack of awareness about ADHD in Pakistan than in any other country. We have taken the initiative to spread awareness among common people aiming to remove the stigma around ADHD and encourage people to seek a diagnosis for their symptoms.