Hyperactive child: a gestaltic view

The study investigated the psychological functioning of the hyperactive child according to Contact Cycle Theory of Gestalt Approach, proposed by Ribeiro (1997). Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by motor, perceptual, emotional and behavioral disturbances. According to DSM-IV (1994), the disorder comprises 18 basic symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. The research adopted a qualitative approach. The sample was composed by 20 subjects: five couples, five teachers and five children from eight to 11 years old. Non-structured interviews and children's apperception test using animal figures (CAT-A) were applied as instruments to collect data. We concluded that hyperactive child displays specific psychological processes forming the base of his personality, hyperactivity is the characteristic that defines the disorder, and that there is no attention deficit properly. Thus, we propose a different terminology: Hyperactivity/Attention Disorder.

hyperactivity; inattention; ADHD; gestalt; contact cycle

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