Attention Deficit Disorder
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3-5 percent of all American children. It interferes with a person's ability to sustain attention or focus on a task and some patients may be unable to control impulsive behavior. Some of the warning signs of ADD include failure to listen to instructions, inability to organize oneself and school work, fidgeting with hands and feet, talking too much, leaving projects, chores and homework unfinished, and having trouble paying attention to both minor and important details.
The usual course of treatment may include medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) or pemoline (Cylert), which are stimulants that decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity and increase attention. Most experts agree that treatment for ADD should address multiple aspects of the individual's functioning and should not be limited to the use of medications alone. Treatment should include individual tutoring, parent education (to address discipline and limit-setting), and individual or group behavioral therapy (or both) for the child.
There is no "cure" for ADD. Children with the disorder seldom outgrow it; however, some may find adaptive ways to accommodate the ADD as they mature. It is a common myth that ADD is outgrown in adolescence. Many adults cope with this problem every day.
Attention Deficit Disorder can be very frustrating to deal with, but with the use of resources, and early diagnosis, parents and children tend to do much better.
There are many useful books out there to help parents understand and deal construtively with this disease. One that I highly recommend is" "Solve Your Child's School-Related Problems," edited by" Michael Martin, Ph.D., and Cynthia Waltman-Greenwood, Ph.D., published by HarperPerenial. Another one is:"Your Hyperactive Child..." by Barbara Ingersoll, Ph.D. This one is a little old, but has very valuable information in it that is never out of date. If your child has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, I would urge you to educate yourself as much as possible about this disease, and keep your self up on the latest research studies.
Most of all, remember that this is not your child's fault. He/she is not being bad! This is a medical problem and needs to be dealt with medically; although there may be some behavioral modifications needed as well.
I developed an interest in ADD/ADHD when my youngest son was being evaluated for this condition. He was diagnosed with ADD and ADHD while in the second grade, and takes medication to aid in controlling it. Prior to his diagnosis, I had been told (by Special Education people no less!) that if I were a better mother I would be able to keep him more focused and under control, and that his home life must be in upheaval and that is why he misbehaved, etc. This problem has NOTHING to do with bad parenting skills! You don't create a child with ADD/ADHD. If you believe that your child has this problem, have them evaluated by a professional. With the right treatment, behavioral modification, and help in school, children with ADD/ADHD can be very successful. Our son has some learning disabilities as well, and in a positive atmosphere, he has excelled! There have been times when he has challenged all of our parenting skills, but he is truly a joy to have around. He fully understands his condition, how the medication works, and can even let us and his doctor know when it is time to adjust the dose. He does not use it as an "excuse" for anything -- he knows that sometimes he has to work twice as hard as other kids to understand some material, and is willing to do so. We are very proud of this child we are raising!
A Parent's Pledge
by Marian Wright Edleman
I promise to...
Listen to my children
Communicate with my children
Teach my children right from wrong and be a good role model for them
Spend time with and pay attention to my children
Educate my children in mind, body, and soul
Work to provide a stable family life for my children
Pray for and see God in my children and in all children
Vote for my children to ensure them fair opportunity
Speak out for my and other people's children's needs.
We Are Responsible by Ina Hughes We are responsible for children who put chocolate fingers everywhere who like to be tickled who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants who sneak popsicles before dinner who erase holes in their math workbooks who can never find their shoes. But we are also responsible for those who stare at photographers from behind broken windows who canít bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers who never "counted potatoes" who are born in places we wouldnít be caught dead who live in an X-rated world. We are responsible for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money who cover themselves with bandaids and sing off-key who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink who slurp their soup. But we are also responsible for those who never get dessert who have no safe blanket to drag behind them who watch their parents watch them suffer, who canít find any bread to steal who don't have rooms to clean whose pictures arenít on anybodyís dresser, whose monsters are real. We responsible for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday who throw tantrums in the grocery store and who pick at their food who like ghost stories who shove dirty clothing under the bed and never rinse out the tub who get visits from the tooth fairy who donít like to be kissed in front of the carpool who squirm in church and scream on the phone whose tears sometimes make us laugh and whose smiles can make us cry And we are responsible for those whose nightmares come in the day who will eat anything who have never seen a dentist who arenít spoiled by anybody who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep who live and move, but have no being. We are responsible for children who want to be carried and for those who must for those we never give up on and for those who donít get a second chance for those we smother and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.
Little Teddy Stoddard
Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little black boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant. It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then marking the Fat F the top of the paper biggest of all.
Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and put Teddy's off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise. His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."
His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem."
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard. Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to." After the children left she cried for at least an hour.
On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children.
Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy." As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and...well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that Spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom. And guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like... well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.
THE MORAL: You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another's life by your actions or lack of action. Consider this fact in your venture through life.
this story really touched my heart, and I hope that it touched yours as well. It is definitely something we should think about the next time we prejudge someone because of the way that they look.
Children Live What They Learn
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to feel shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns patience.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
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My Attention Deficit Disorder Links
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder:
Attention Deficit Disorder:
Shari Landis' ADD Reference List:
National Attention Deficit Disorder Association:
Treating a Child with Attention Deficit Disorder:
Attention Deficit Disorder -- The Links Page:
One A.D.D. Place:
Medication Chart to treat ADD:
A brief history of ADD:
Useful Parenting Links:
The Invisible Disability:
Web Resources for ADHD:
Learning Disabilities Association of America:
Learning Disabilities Newsletter:
What are learning disabilities:
The Kids and Family Channel:
Attention Deficit Disorder -- Information and Links|Children Are Our Future |
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