Attention Defecit Hyperactive Disorder, commonly referred to by it's initials, either ADHD or ADD has recently been diagnosed with such frequency that professionals are questioning whether it is over-diagnosed.
The diagnosis has changed some over the years, and new research is continuing to refine our understanding of ADHD. In many respects, this represents two separate problems, although they appear to be linked together. Children may have ADHD, primarily with inattention, ADHD primarily with impulsive/hyperactive behavior, or a mixed type incorporating attributes of both problems.
Inattention is usually identified by problems in school work. The child may fail to finish most work, often making careless mistakes, and often forgetting many things. Almost anything will distract the child. Disorganization is common, and the child may lose personal items regularly. Even when spoken to directly, the child may not pay attention to what is said, and be unable to provide feedback when asked. The child will regualrly fail to complete assignments in school, and chores at home, but because of forgetfulness and disorganization rather than defiance or resistance to authority.
Of course, the age of the child is important when assessing these factors, as younger children are more likely to exhibit these behaviors normally. This is one reason that ADHD is often not identified until a child is in school. If your child exhibits many of these behaviors, you should consider discussing the problem with a psychologist, and with your pediatrician. If your child does have ADHD, there are many things that can be done to compensate for the attention problem. Please note that this disorder does not reflect low intelligence, as many, if not most, ADHD children are average or above average in intelligence.
Hyperactive and impulsive behavior is easier to identify, because the ADHD child is all over the place, and rarely sits still for very long. Even when sitting, the child fidgets and bounces in his/her seat. (More boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD). In school, the child has trouble remaining seated, and frequently blurts out answers or questions, out of turn and without waiting to be called. The child may be a "motor mouth," never ceasing to talk about everything, and to everyone who will listen. This causes friction at times, because the ADHD child often talks or plays out of turn, creating conflict with peers. If your child displays many of the behaviors listed, consider talking to a psychologist about how to channel his/her activity into constructive paths, and to learn what is realistic to expect from the child, in terms of self-control.
Hyperactive children frequently get into minor difficulties in school because of their activity level, but they are not bad children. Sometimes, however, their behavior will overwhelm the teacher, resulting in friction and an increase in poor conduct in school.
Dr. Franklin provides individual and family treatment for children with ADHD, and their parents. ADHD children frequently have self-esteem problems, because they cannot control themselves, and they think they are "bad" kids. Parents are often overwhelmed by the energy these children display, and need support as well as intervention strategies.
For more information, please call (908) 526-8111