Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Who hasn't heard of Attentdion Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? It's that problem in school with paying attention and better known as ADHD or ADD or some set of letters. In some states it's one of those conditions that some teachers can only hint about and not actually say its name. They're not allowed to make a diagnosis, so they'll "suggest" you see a doctor.
Some things you may hear from teachers include:
"He can't sit still, always gets out of his seat. "
"She daydreams a lot in class."
"He rushes, scribbles through his work."
"It takes her three times longer to do what everyone else does."
"I had to move his desk to the front of the class, just to keep on top of him."
A genuine problem
There is a perception that "every kid has ADHD" and "everybody is on Ritalin." One of the reasons that this situation may exist is the incredible difference that treatment can make with somebody that genuinely has ADHD. For people whose ADHD cannot be managed with just behavioral treatment, medication can almost be like a miracle.
Since medication can make such a dramatic difference for some people, there may be a tendency for both patients and doctors to look for a solution in medication. As a result, stimulant medication can be prescribed for behavior problems whether the child really has ADHD or not.
Even though stimulant medication may be overly prescribed for children with behavior problems other than ADHD, many children who have ADHD never receive treatment. A vital goal of treatment should be trying to reach all children with this problem, correctly diagnosing the condition, and treating the situation with the right approach.
Figuring this out usually take longer than a 5 minute doctor visit. Gather as much information from your child's teachers as you can. Make notes for yourself that you can share with your doctor. You are an important part of figuring out what sort of behavioral problem your child might have.
Some things to consider:
Problems with attention are present in many other conditions other than ADHD.
It is important to consider emotional problems like some form of depression or anxiety as a possible reason for a child's attention problems.
When used properly, medication may help your behavioral strategies become even more effective.
Watch out for side effects of stimulant medication. If your child seems like a zombie or robot, the medication or dose shold be changed.
Medication can help some children turn their grades from "F's" to "A's." But does your child really need medication to turn his "95" into a "100?"