Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in children

ADD checklist

Does your child have trouble sitting still? Does he have trouble focusing and completing a task? Have teachers asked about having him tested?

Here’s what you need to know:

Q. What is ADD?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) is based on a combination of inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive behaviors that are inappropriate for the age of the child. And most of the time, ADHD is not diagnosed until a child enters school. Why? Because virtually all preschoolers have trouble paying attention and sitting still! So, don’t book a consultation with your child’s doctor because your preschooler doesn’t want to sit around during storytime.

Q. Is ADHD hereditary?

Yes. Interestingly, Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD (inattentive type) and ADHD (hyperactivity type) tends to run in families. Often, a parent realizes he or she has the disorder when his or her child is going through the evaluation process.

Q. What signs should I be looking for in my child?

Hyperactivity: A child will constantly fidget with his hands or body. He may seem like he is always on the go. He may have trouble sitting in his seat or playing quietly. And, he may talk incessantly.

Impulsivity: A child will have trouble taking turns in play. He may blurt out answers in the classroom or interrupt other children’s activities. As a result, he may be rejected by his peers.

Inattention: A child may be very disorganized and have trouble completing tasks—even ones that are fun. He may be forgetful and gloss over details.

Q. What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

The H stands for Hyperactivity. Kids with ADD are not fidgety or loud and so they have fewer behavior problems in the classroom. They are unfocused and inattentive, and just look like they are daydreaming. As you might expect, they often are diagnosed later—often a child will be 8 or 9 before a diagnosis is considered.

Q. If I am worried about ADD/ADHD, who should I turn to for help?

Start with your child’s teacher. He or she can fill out a checklist that demonstrates your child’s success and challenges in a classroom setting. You will also be asked to do an assessment of your child in your home setting as well. The next step is to discuss the finding with your child’s healthcare provider.

Q. Is medication the only treatment?

Your healthcare provider can go over the various ways to help a child with ADD or ADHD succeed in school. The first step is making a clear diagnosis.