Attention Deficit Disorder

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Attention deficit disorder, which used to be known as 'ADD,' is now properly referred to as 'attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,' or 'ADHD.' There's still some disagreement whether A-D-D and A-D-H-D are two different disorders or not. A-D-H-D is a neurobiological (nurr-oh-bi-uh-LODGE-i-kuhl) disorder that exists in the brain and central nervous system. It begins before age seven, but it may not be identified until the child is older. It's characterized by impulsiveness that's not appropriate for the child's age, as well as inattention, depression, and anxiety. Despite its name, there's no 'deficit' in attention but, rather, a problem with the child being easily distracted. Someone with A-D-H-D can pay close attention, but apparently lacks the mechanism for sustaining attention to a particular subject or activity, even one of interest. Even though A-D-H-D is sometimes called a 'learning disorder,' the problem is not with the child's ability to learn but to concentrate and follow simple instructions. It also affects a child's personal relationships and other aspects of life. If you feel your child may have this disorder, contact a doctor, who can rule out any medical cause. Then you and the doctor can determine whether the child merely has a discipline problem, is just being a 'normal' child, or whether further evaluation from a psychologist or child psychiatrist is needed. Whatever the source, the way a child is raised and disciplined seems to determine how severe the disorder will become and how well the child will cope with it.

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