Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

 Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist

Are you parenting a challenging child?

Take heart you are not alone.  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is found in 3 to 5 percent of the children in the United States.  ADD is not your fault.

A neurological condition and/or brain chemistry is believed to be the cause of ADD.  Upset, anxious, or frustrated parents do not cause ADD in their child.  However, in the absence of proper help and treatment the challenge posed by a child can make parents upset, anxious and frustrated.

Boys definitely outnumber girls.  There are about three ADD boys to one girl.  50% of children manifest attention deficit disorder behavior by age 4 and the remainder by age 7.

Parents may notice that a preschooler child is constantly running and climbing, on the go, and "always has his mother running."  In school, the child shows difficulty with sticking to a task sufficiently to finish it, often not listening to what is said by the teacher, blurting out the answer before the question is completed, talking excessively, failing to await turn, interrupting teachers and children alike.  When he is really required to be quiet and still, as in a church or in a waiting room, the ADD child's difficulty is most acute.  The word "No" has a monetary or no effect at all.

These signs can alert you to the possibility of attention disorder.  Do not attempt to rest a diagnosis on these signs alone.  Even experts cannot diagnose on the basis of the signs alone.  Family problems, stress, anxiety, drugs, physical illness and learning difficulty can cause problems that look like ADD.

Comprehensive evaluation must include a medical and psychological assessment.  In a true ADD, problems of inattention and impulsiveness have been consistently present, have been observed for at least six months, appear early in age, and are observed both at school and home.

Some of the ADD behaviors must be observed in the clinic too. Hyperactivity is not always present and its absence does not mean absence of ADD.  Up to 30% of ADD children are not hyperactive at all but they can't focus attention and get constantly distracted.  Some ADD children are depressed and nervous.  Most of them feel awkward, left out, different from others, and have poor self-esteem.

If our child needs medication, make an "ADD list" of 5 to 10 problem behaviors which are a problem at home or school.  Rate them on a scale from 1 to 10, then, each time you go to your physician take the previous and present ratings.  A comparison of the two rating will help your physician to adjust the medication very accurately.

Ask your child's teacher to send a one-minute "daily report card" on the classroom  and playground problem behaviors (these are already on your ADD list) on a scale of 1 to 10.  Let the teacher rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 each day, so you know when your child is doing better or worse.  When your child brings a daily report card from the school and you work with him at home on those situations and problems, you and your child's teacher can work together as a team.

Mornings can be a chaotic time at home.  Remind your child to keep shoes, bags, lunch box, clothes, etc, at a set place and at a set time in the evening.  This will minimize the confusion and chaos in the morning.

Ask your child to do just one thing at a time and when it is completed, then ask him to work on the next task.  For example, do not say, "After you put your books away, put your toys back in the box and bring the mail from the mailbox."

Remind the child of the rules just before starting.  For example, just before you enter the store, remind the child the rules you want him to follow in the store.  Reward the child immediately as you come out of the store.  You may also praise, pat, smile or give other type of rewards as the child follows the rules inside the store.

Join a parent support group.  We now have a parent support group in Cleveland, named Children with Attention Deficit Disorders (CH.ADD) which is the local chapter of a widely known national organization.  Contact Sally Harmon, Bradley County Chapter Coordinator at 339-4100 during the day or 476-6620 in the evening.  When you become a member of such a national organization, you are not just a parent of an ADD child, you are an advocate of children with ADD problems.

Return to Self Help 

Copyright 1996, Mind Publications 


Click for Dr. Sharma's credentials
Dr. Vijai Sharma
Your Life Coach
By Telephone

Feedback- Let us know how we are doing

Terms and Conditions

Web site designed and maintained by Chanda Taylor