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Primary School

Many hyperactive children reach primary school without a diagnosis, without even a suspicion that they have a disorder, and that it is treatable. At 6-7 years old children must be able to sit a long time to listen, learn or know how to read and write, must be able to write short assignments, begin to memorize, to use logic in mental operations, to understand the cause-effect relationships of things (and behaviors), have an idea of what takes time (one hour, 5 minutes). In addition, children with normal development regulate their behavior by its consequences, often seeking gratification (good grades, approval from parents and teachers, for example). They are able to wait gratification that is not immediate (waiting for evaluations, and the grades they get may influence their subsequent behavior toward their studies). They are increasingly better able to control their impulses, their irritation, their anger, without bursting immediately into tantrums, aggression or losing control.

Hyperactive children are missing these aspects. Their mind works more immaturely. They do not control their outbursts. They are not capable of thinking, reasoning, or relating cause and effect. They can not complete a page of homework at once. They do not read the whole question before answering with the first thing that comes to mind without finishing reading. They have no motor control, patience and care to write properly. They skip letters, join words together, and they make many mistakes on tasks that know and understand. Teachers always notice them because their grades do not reflect their intelligence. They are much more capable of what they are demonstrating. And they call a lot of attention to themselves in the same subject since they can get two diametrically opposed grades two days in a row. The teacher tends to think that if the child is able to make an A- in mathematics one day that the only justification for getting a D another is that he/she has no desire to do well, has not studied or does not like studying. What often happens though is that even if the child can add and subtract well, to do well on the test also requires them to concentrate, to not mix some questions with others, to think about the answer and to not rush. Teachers need to begin to think creatively now to find out what the child knows, test him/her accordingly, and not fall into the trap of evaluating only his/her performance on exams or homework. This attitude of continuous assessment, which has many positive aspects, can be a source of frustration and repeated failure for the hyperactive child, which then can start to lose motivation and interest in their studies. It is a mistake to insist that he or she add and subtract a thousand times, because he or she has no problem with the concept of adding or subtracting. They need to be taught to learn to focus, to organize their work, to think before they act or respond, which is what they do not know how to do.

Fatigue often has a very incisive effect on the performance of hyperactive children, both tired by the effort to do the tasks that are simple for others as well as tired due to their continued frustration for failing to recognize or understand their difficulties.

The recognition of these children’s’ learning difficulties by their teacher is important for assessing their limitations and in order to be able to adequately assist them. Also, it is important to be able to recommend necessary help for parents.

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