How do the symptoms of ADHS and ADS differ?
In the non-hyperactive form, known as ADS, the attention deficit disorder manifests itself differently. Similar to the typical variants of ADHD, those affected experience a real stimulus satiation in everyday life and find it difficult to separate the unimportant from the important. They therefore show the same concentration and attention problems, but deal with them differently.
Hyperactive patients compensate for the excessive demands with the signals that flow in on them and compensate the accumulated energy with excessive movement. They are nervous, do not sit still and are constantly “on the move”. In the non-hyperactive form, patients tend to suffer from an inner restlessness and isolate themselves from the outside world in order to escape the stimulus satiation.
This can be seen, for example, in hypo-, i.e. underactivity. The person appears dreamy and is absent in his thoughts. The main symptoms of ADHD are therefore disturbed social behaviour and psychological problems.
This form of ADHD is significantly less typical, is diagnosed less frequently and persists more often into adulthood. As a rule, parents are the most important caregivers for a child. Parents know their child better than any other person and can therefore provide far-reaching information on the child’s behaviour and stage of development.
However, since it is extremely difficult to admit to oneself that there are problems that actually need to be addressed in order to be solved adequately, initiatives are often only taken when the family situation (the domestic environment) is becoming increasingly strained. The interview with the parents usually includes a questionnaire which attempts to shed light on the characteristics of the child. Of course, the child’s playing behaviour, ability to concentrate, staying power, team spirit, etc.
are of enormous importance and are repeatedly questioned by specific questions. Due to the feeling of security that a child experiences in its family environment, it often behaves differently in this protected space than with friends or even at school. Due to this feeling of being unobserved, the child often shows traditional behaviour patterns that have been developed over the years and thus also become established, which run almost automatically.
Many of these behaviours are familiar to the family members, whereby serious and therefore extremely disturbing behaviours can become apparent, but are not always recognized. Through a targeted questioning by means of a questionnaire, behaviours are also specifically questioned that have been simply accepted by the family members over the years. Of course, it is up to each parent to decide to what extent the interviews capture the assessment of the complete situation.
Ultimately, you will only give your child an advantage (in terms of time) if you are honest with yourself and try to answer the questions with the best possible conscience. Since typical ADHD behaviour is not limited to the family environment, but also appears in interaction with peers and in stressful situations, the assessment of the situation by the kindergarten or school is an essential element of the diagnostic survey. Typical problems with ADHD children are particularly evident when increased concentration and attention is required or when topics are discussed which do not correspond to the interests of the ADHD child.
ADHD children can then only with difficulty resist the inner urge and then stand out through hyperactive behaviour and often also through an extremely low frustration tolerance. Not least because of these concentration and attention problems, further learning problems can often occur in addition to the actual symptoms. In particular, learning areas which are difficult for the ADHD child offer a large area of attack with regard to the development of learning problems.
The “classic problem areas” in kindergarten are a good example of this. In kindergarten, ADHD becomes noticeable in many children for the first time. They are fidgety, do not follow the rules and spread unrest.
The pronounced urge to move can increase the risk of accidents and the children find it difficult to follow instructions and react defiantly. Inappropriate outbursts of anger and impulsive behaviour are common. The child may also be dreamy and mentally absent without motor restlessness.
It is not uncommon for the symptoms to be more severe in kindergarten than at home, as there are many more stimuli that come into play and overwhelm them. The relationship with the educators and the other children is burdened by the inappropriate behaviour. Those affected find it difficult to integrate into a group.
Their lack of concentration can also lead to developmental delays, e.g. when learning fine motor skills in drawing and handicrafts. However, since intelligence is not impaired by the attention deficit disorder and children with ADHD often have a more pronounced imagination than their peers, the correct handling of the symptoms and the promotion of their individual talents can prevent problems later on. The aim of a psychological assessment is to obtain as objective a picture of the child as possible by summarising the various examination results within one report.
Since test results always have to be seen in connection with the respective test, the underlying test procedures are always mentioned in the report. Furthermore, it is pointed out how the results are to be interpreted. As a rule, a psychological expert opinion also provides initial indications of therapeutic procedures based on the individual results and events.
The way in which a psychological assessment is prepared can vary and depends in particular on the age of the child. Psychological assessments for pre-school children are mainly based on developmental diagnostics. Psychological assessments prepared in this way generally do not use standardised test procedures.
They refer to conversations with reference persons and to the analysis of the child’s behaviour and individual movement characteristics. Observation of the child usually provides the first important information regarding the child’s ability to concentrate and pay attention. Furthermore, the child’s tolerance for frustration and the ability to follow rules can be assessed quite well.
Psychological expertises for children from the age of six years on are based not only on the individual assessment by the psychologist and/or paediatrician, but also on standardised test procedures which consider the individual child’s performance in relation to the age norm, i.e. in relation to the average age-appropriate development of a child. Before test procedures can be called standardized test procedures, they must meet certain quality criteria. They must be objective and provide the same results even if the test is repeated (results must not depend on chance). Finally, they must also measure what was intended. It is up to the tester to choose which test procedures are used in each individual case.