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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Many children, especially preschool children, are said to be 'hyperactive.' Usually the term is misused to describe a child who's merely active and busy, which is a normal part of being a child, not a disorder. This is different from a child with A-D-H-D, 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.' The child with A-D-H-D displays a different quality in his busy activity. For example, a very active child may run into a room and empty his toy chest, searching for a favorite toy. Although he's doing it in a hurried way, he has a purpose in mind. An A-D-H-D child probably would run into the room and fling toys, but with no apparent motive or purpose. Especially when children are toddlers, parents may worry their children are hyperactive, but if you compare them with others of the same age, you'll probably discover they're acting normally. Children ages two and three are naturally very active, impulsive, and have short attention spans. Most children occasionally seem 'overactive' or are easily distracted, especially when they're in a strange place or around strangers. Sometimes parents, teachers, or other authority figures are too quick to want to medicate children because it's believed they're hyperactive, when the child is only being normal. This can have extremely harmful consequences. Responding instead with forms of effective and constructive activity and discipline are much better options that are likely to improve your child's behavior, make the child more personable, and make the child easier for you and others to live with.

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