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A message from "Kids Corner" at Plum Creek Medical

published on 04-02-2010

David C. Simon, MD, Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
I was told that my child/teen may have ADD…what is that?
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition of the brain that makes it difficult for children/teens to concentrate and is frequently accompanied by hyperactive behavior.  It is about 3X more common in boys and can affect as many as 4-12% of children.  The condition affects behavior in specific ways…inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.  Not all children/teens with ADD/ADHD have all the symptoms.
How can I tell if my child/teen has ADHD?
Sometimes a teacher is the first to notice the above symptoms and will bring this to the parents' attention. At other times perhaps your pediatrician may raise the issue by asking questions such as:
  • How is your child/teen doing in school?
  • Are there any problems with learning that you or his/her teachers have seen?
  • Is your child/teen having problems completing class work or homework?
  • Are you concerned with any behavior problems in school, at home, or when your child/teen is interacting with friends?
Another confounding feature is that depression in teenagers may present as misbehavior that often leads to the misdiagnoses of ADHD, a learning disorder or a conduct disorder.
What are effective treatments?
Most of the time, symptoms are treated with medication and an accompanying treatment plan. Part of this plan involves simplifying and organizing your home environment. Try keeping your child/teen on a daily schedule. A consistent routine can create positive daily habits that will help him/her take on more responsibility. When your child/teen needs to focus on a specific task, cut down on distractions such as siblings, the TV or stereo. Organize your house. Have specific places for schoolwork and clothes. Charts and checklists can be helpful to track progress, but keep instructions brief and offer frequent, friendly reminders.
I can evaluate your child/teen for ADD/ADHD and other disorders at Plum Creek Medical.
David C. Simon, MD, FAAP
*Note: The information above is abstracted from articles on the web site of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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