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Hyperactivity (ADHD)

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The first signs of hyperactivity and attention problems usually appear early in a child’s development. Symptoms are often observed before the age of 7 and change as the years pass. Early detection of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is therefore key. Assessing the child and identifying the disorder are serious and complex tasks, to be undertaken by competent professionals. Although diagnosis is a medical matter, assessment of the child is an interdisciplinary process requiring full cooperation and exchange of information between everyone involved.

To reduce the risk of other problems, early intervention is paramount and should be based on a reliable assessment. Various measures should be used simultaneously to manage the disorder; they may include medication. All the resources available to the young person and his or her family should be involved, including those associated with the school, health and social services network, daycare, recreational pursuits and sports. Treatments should be chosen in conjunction with the parents, attending physician, teaching staff and any other adult in contact with the child. A young person with this type of problem also needs regular monitoring, so that the care plan can be modified as necessary to provide effective support.

The Ministère de Éducation, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and Ministère de l'Emploi, de la Solidarité sociale et de la Famille all share the concerns of parents of ADHD children who are worried about the use of drugs such as Ritalin. We need to guard against excessive or illicit use of Ritalin, while bearing in mind that in certain cases prescribing Ritalin is recommended.

In June 2000, the three ministries announced their plan of action on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, entitled Working Together to Provide Better Support for Young People. The public information leaflet Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity in Children – Be Aware! is now available. It is designed to help parents and adults in contact with young people to recognize the symptoms promptly and react accordingly. The leaflet is distributed to schools, health and social services institutions, daycares and recreational and sports center.

You can find out more about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from the following parent support groups and associations:

  • Regroupement des associations de parents PANDA du Québec
    (parents able to negotiate attention deficit disorders)
    Website: www.associationpanda.qc.ca
    Telephone: 450-979-7788
  • Learning Disabilities Association of Quebec (LDAQ)
    Website: www.aqeta.qc.ca
    Telephone: 514-847-1324


You may also consult the guidelines for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and the use of central nervous system stimulants, issued by the

  • Collège des médecins du Québec (in French)
    Site Internet : www.cmq.org

  • l’Ordre des psychologues du Québec
    Site Internet : www.ordrepsy.qc.ca

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