What is “Hyperactivity” in ADHD?
If you have a child who is hyperactive, you need no explanation. He's the one running across the ceiling. But for the rest of you, this is what we mean.
These are kids that act as if they are driven by a motor.
They "go." You wind them up in the morning and they "go" until they're finally exhausted, and then they go to sleep, maybe. Some of these sleep pretty well during the night, and some of them hardly need sleep at all. Three hours of sleep and they're up and ready to go.
Each child is different, each child is unique.
Remember that there are several different types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD.
One definition of hyperactivity is "high levels of non-goal directed motor activity."
A child with high levels of motor activity that is always directed at a goal may not be clinically hyperactive. He may be a future professional athlete or rocket scientist.
It's the kid who bounces from one activity to another, in a manner inappropriate for their age, which is our concern.
Hyperactivity is often thought of as the child being “over aroused.”
There is a part of your brain that is constantly scanning the environment to see if there are any changes in that environment.
If anything has changed, then that part of the brain asks the question, “Is this new thing in the environment good or bad? Is it something good to eat, or is it going to eat me? How should I feel about this new thing? Should I like it, or be afraid or it?”
In many ADHD kids who are hyperactive this part of the brain is overly sensitive, and the kids are seen as being easily startled or scared, overreacting to things, touching everything around them, and being very edgy.
They never seem to be able to just relax.
Some of these kids also have a very quick temper, a short fuse. They are sometimes explosive. They often lose friends because of their intensity and temper, and they often seem to run over people like a tornado.
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But as we have said, a lot of ADHD kids are not hyperactive. And the kids who are not hyperactive tend to be girls, and they tend to sit in the back of the classroom and just quietly get C's and D's when everyone knows they should be getting A's and B's. These kids with ADHD without hyperactivity are the one's being labeled as "lazy" and at the parent conferences the parents are told, "He or she could do better if they'd just try harder."
The good news about hyperactivity in ADHD is the with time the running, climbing, yelling, fidgeting, squirming, and fighting of hyperactivity tend to mellow out as the brain matures. Teens and adults will become more "restless" then the childhood "hyperactive".
From newideas.net the ADD ADHD Information Library. Learn about ADHD "Impulsive Hyperactive" Type with Doug Cowan, Psy.D. This classic type of ADHD, which we call Tigger Type ADHD is more common with males, and is characterized by inattention, impuls...
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Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., M.S. is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Tehachapi, CA who has been a counselor to children, teens, and adults helping them to overcome ADHD, find relief for depression or anxiety, and solve other problems in life since 1989. He served on the medical advisory board to the company that makes Attend and Extress from 1997 through 2011, and he is the Editor of the ADHD Information Library online resource at http://newideas.net/. His weekly ADHD Newsletter goes out to 9,500 families. Visit his website at http://DouglasCowan.me for more information on achieving greater health, personal growth, Christ-centered spirituality, stress management, parenting skills, ADHD, working out the stresses of being a care-giver to elderly parents and also being a parent to teenagers, or finding greater meaning in retirement years, Dr. Cowan can be a valuable resource to you.
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Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT
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