School s out, but those report cards just came in. If you see a lot of feedback where your child is not paying attention, has trouble following directions or makes careless mistake, she might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.

What types of ADHD are there?

There are three types and they all come under the heading attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The first is inattentive which some people like to call just ADD because there is no hyperactivity involved. This is when a child makes careless mistakes, doesn t remember details or directions and is easily distracted.

The second is the hyperactive or impulsive type of ADHD. This is when a child fidgets a lot, can t seem to sit still, doesn t like to wait for his or her turn and interrupts others.

The third type of ADHD is a combination.

What are the characteristics of ADHD?

A child with ADHD hyperactive is often a high maintenance child that is hard on friends and family. They normally have social struggles as they exhaust friends, teachers and coaches and this could lead to low self-esteem.

The ADHD inattentive child normally fits in better socially, but has trouble with schoolwork and paying attention. Again...this could lead to frustration and behavior problems.

Many ADHD children have high IQs even though they often get labeled by society as dumb or lazy.

There are some very famous and successful people with ADHD including Einstein, Mozart, diVinci, John F Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg and Thomas Edison, who s teacher allegedly told him he was too stupid to learn anything.

It seems we hear more and more children are being diagnosed with ADHD. Is that true?

It s probably true that more children are being diagnosed, but that doesn t mean the number of children with ADHD is going up.

A decade ago the number diagnosed was between 3 to 5 percent. Now, estimates are around 6 to 9 percent.
Researchers say doctors, teachers and parents are getting more educated on how to detect ADHD.

The same rates are being seen in Great Britain, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Germany.

There are actually many medical journals that show ADHD is going underdiagnosed and undertreated especially in girls and low income families.

What can a parent do if they feel their child might have attention challenges?

*Talk with others

The first thing to do is talk with others that also know your child well. Teachers, coaches, friends and their parents. These people can give you feedback and help establish what challenges there might be.

In fact, one type of testing for ADHD is a questionnaire you give to people to get their observations.

Formal testing is the only way to truly diagnose ADHD. You can have it done privately or through a school district, although that would probably take longer, it s probably a less expensive way to go.

Adding structure into the life of a child with attention issues can help. Routines are good and balanced diets are important.

Also, tutors can really help your child with school work and getting organized.

For more information on this topic, go to the ParentMap website.

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