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Is Hyperactivity A True Disability?



Hyperactivity is defined as excessive physical movements without a purpose and is usually at an increased speed. It is most commonly associated with those who have ADHD, otherwise known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is sometimes considered a disability depending upon how limiting it is for the person. In the technical and legal sense, those who are limited by major life activities are considered disabled, though it is not always classified by the Americans with Disabilities Act

What is Hyperactivity?

Many will call is often called “fidgety” when they are labeled as hyperactive. Toddlers who have hyperactivity are going non-stop and may find it difficult to play in a group setting. School-age children who are hyperactive may be running or talking excessively in comparison to their age group. It may be nearly impossible for children to do their homework or relax because they cannot sit still long enough to do so.

While hyperactivity is not necessarily genetic, it has been found in certain families. Often, children who are hyperactive will have a relative who has suffered from similar behavior. It can affect males and females, though males are five times more likely to be hyperactive than females.

Approximately 5% of children in school are labeled hyperactive. Many will suspect their child is hyperactive at a young age. Often, professionals won’t diagnose until a child starts school to see how they respond in a group and classroom atmosphere. Often, it is misdiagnosed simply because a child has a lot of energy, which is why many doctors will wait until it begins to have an impact on a person’s lifestyle – such as their inability to sit through class.

How is Hyperactivity Treated?

Hyperactivity must first be diagnosed and that is usually when parents take their child to a professional because of concerns that the child is doing poorly in school or becoming accident-prone. Teachers may also be the ones to step in and alert the parents to a problem. The diagnosis will only be made after obtaining a child’s history and the professional may also take the time to observe the child in action.

Hyperactivity can be treated in a variety of ways, especially when it is associated with ADHD. A professional may suggest therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Behavior therapy is often used with the support of parents and teachers to help the child focus their attention more successfully. Medications, when prescribed, have a paradoxical effect to calm the children, though, in an average person, it would act as a stimulant.

Hyperactive children who undergo behavior therapy are likely to improve their academic performance and be more attentive. Successful treatments will allow a child to participate more effectively with other children and improve social life.

In many instances, hyperactivity improves with age. As a person enters adulthood, they are less likely to need behavior therapy or medication. If a person still needs assistance as they get older, it can be labeled as a disability even more so, which means that person may need assistance from a medical professional to get certain dispensations.