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ADHD support in Dubai

Rachel Jex, mum and ADHD support group founder, tell us about the condition

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What is ADHD?
ADHD is a condition affecting the brain which makes it difficult for children to control their behaviour. It occurs more frequently in boys, and research shows that it’s also likely to be hereditary. Studies have shown that children with ADHD don’t have as many affective neurological connections as other children, and they may also have a shortage of dopamine, a neuro-transmitter that is important for behaviour and cognition function, voluntary movement, motivation and reward. There are three different types of ADHD: the first is predominatly inattention, which means a child has difficulty with their attention span; the second is predominantly hyperactivity, which prevents the child from being able to sit and concentrate for any length of time; and the third type is a combination of the two just mentioned.

How can you spot ADHD?
It is difficult to diagnose ADHD until a child is aged between six and eight years old. This is because up until this stage, any inattention and impulsive behaviour could just be a normal part of their developmental progress. However, once they get to the age of six or seven, the symptoms of ADHD would usually begin to have a negative impact on their school work, their home life and their ability to form relationships with others. This is when it’s important to ascertain whether ADHD could be the factor that’s affecting your child’s life.

How do you diagnose it?
ADHD can’t be diagnosed in a half-hour session. It usually takes between six to eight weeks. Your first step would be to make an appointment with a clinical or educational psychologist. They would look at the problem from all angles. They would assess your child’s behaviour at school and at home, and would work closely with their teachers to discover the root of the problem. The good thing about getting such a holistic assessment is that you cover all angles. A psychologist won’t just look for the aspects that you as parents have experienced – they will carry out a thorough assessment that covers all eventualities, from dyslexia to Aspergers. For ADHD to be diagnosed, the symptoms should be present in more than one setting, such as at home and at school.

How does ADHD affect a child’s life?
In a classroom situation they find it very difficult to function productively. Often, children with ADHD need one-to-one help and a quiet place in which to work, because the slightest distraction will break their concentration. It’s as though they don’t have any filters when it comes to their environment. The rest of us can ignore the noisy A/C, or the children chatting on the next table, or what’s going on in the playground – but a child with ADHD can’t switch those things off, and therefore, concentration and completing any task becomes incredibly difficult. This obviously becomes more of a problem the further up the school they go.

What happens if your child is diagnosed with ADHD?
Normally, parents work with the psychologist to find mechanisms that help them cope with their child’s ADHD. The psychologist will also be able to suggest strategies that help the child with their day to day attention difficulties. Coping strategies can include reward charts, changes in diet, getting the child into a strict routine, ensuring they are getting enough sleep and even providing omega 3 supplements. These things might not fix the problem completely, but they do make a difference. Unfortunately, ADHD is often not recognised as a physical condition, and health insurance doesn’t cover treatment costs. This often means that families here simply can’t afford to have their children treated.

Are there medications that can help too?
Yes. My son, who is now 14, suffers from inattention ADHD. We tried everything we could in terms of alternative therapies before we resorted to medication. But within an hour of receiving drugs, our son was a different child. He is now doing very well at school and has settled down incredibly well. He has to take his medicine every day, but it’s made a huge difference to his quality of life. In my experience, every case is different. I do think you should investigate other avenues before you decide to medicate, because it’s a serious step to take.

Time Out Dubai,

Add your review/feedback

I'm assistant producer working in MBC3 .. We have a live show called Gentle steps. This Wednesday our topic is about ADHD .. i need your help if you can provide me with any Arabic mother who has a kid with ADHD in order to be our guest for the show . This Wednesday.. Please can anyone help!!!

Review by : Rawan Dawood

Subject: Regarding my daughter HADIA FATIMA (6 Years old) suffering from mental disorder (ADHD)

Hadia’s Fatima is 6 years old & she is 4th child. I have consulted her condition which is by birth with psychiatrists & neurologist in Pakistan but all in vain.
These are the symptoms which she shows & existing in her since she is born. Child institutes in Pakistan are unable to diagnose her problem.

1. Hadia’s weight & physical appearance is perfect & normal according to her age though she fells scratching in her body.
2. Her MRI reports are clear but she complained severe headache.
3. Hadia’s speech power is extremely poor. She spells only word like (Mama, Papa) & bad response in spelling stances & shows poor continuity.
4. Her aggression is on such extent that not only she is stubborn but bet & even bite people if things are not according to her will is that she even bang her head on wall if someone not listen to her.
5. Hadia’s identification is though good. She can easily identify household things like Bag, TV, Bead, Computer, Ac etc.
6. She is very responsive e.g., if her mother weeps or cries she tries to console her to weep to weep her tears

Being her father I am so upset about her behavior as it seems very difficult for her to live like that.
I will be thankful if send me your opinion & guide me for her treatmeNT


To keep simple things simple... assesment for a child blessed with Autism does not have to wait till 6 yrs of age.. i have a little angel who is kissed by this developmental dis order ... we figured this rather late at the age of 3.5 and could not do much then.. Tried to pretend that she would be fine.. put her in school which she would refuse to go to after a week or so as she lacks the basic understanding of the envirenment around her or as very rightly said in this article... she hears much more and can ignore much less.
Now she has her therapies on at home and she is enjoying her time with the Teacher who comes... started to develop speech and her behaviour is also getting better and more understanding.
one simple tip for any parent concerned about thier child having ASD... put them in between a group of children and see if they can gel in..if your child always withdraws and wants to play alone then you need to start expert intervention.
Dubai is Expensive with therapies.. my daughter 25 to 30 hours a month cost me AED 7000 + but i am not bothered about the money as far as my little darling can get some good help from this.
Not much help from government for Expats on this respect... wish you all the very best..

Review by : Nadim Saddiq