I. What is ADD?
Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD -
ADHD, the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder of childhood
(National Institute of Health) is estimated to affect 3 to
5 percent of school-aged children. Dr. Russell Barkley, Director
of Psychology and Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at
the University of Massachusetts, a leading author, researcher,
and diagnostician in the treatment of ADD has said:
"ADHD is real, a real disorder, a real
problem, often a real obstacle. It can be heartbreaking and
As anyone who suffers from ADD, and anyone
who cares for someone with ADD can attest, Dr. Barkley correctly
states the emotional toll that this disorder can take. All
aspects of daily living and family life are touched when a
family member is affected with ADD. In this section we will
provide information on how to identify ADD, how ADD is treated,
the societal implications of ADD, methods and procedures to
deal with the same, some common misconceptions of ADD, and
we will provide resources for getting support and help.
On its most basic level, Attention Deficit
Disorder or ADD consists of the symptoms of poor attention
span and impulsive behavior. Hyperactivity may or may not
be present. Is ADD treatable? The answer is "yes".
Is ADD curable? At this present time, there is no cure for
Click Here for Objective Professional Assistance.
Children with ADHD or ADD may experience significant
functional problems such as school difficulties, academic
underachievement, troublesome relationships with family members
and peers, and behavioral problems.
There is some evidence that there is a biological
basis to ADD.
In 1998, researchers at Stanford using Functional MRI (fMRI)
on ADD children reported to have found a biological marker
for ADHD specifically in the response of the brain to being
medicated with Ritalin, with ADD brains responding differently
medication than the brains of Non-ADD control groups.
Genetic evidence of the disorder indicates
a strong possiblity of ADD being a hereditary condition.
II. What are the symptoms of ADD?
The ADD Check-List
Some of the symptoms of Attention Deficit
Disorder are as follows:
|Appears not to listen
The above list describes
many children; in fact, most children exhibit at least some
of these traits at times! Where is the line drawn between
the kind of behavior that children show at one time or another
and a diagnosis of ADD? And in any case, what kinds of things
can a parent do to modify this kind of behavior?
III. How is ADD diagnosed?
In determining a diagnosis of ADD, physicians
carefully question parents and occasionally teachers and other
care-givers regarding school and behavioral issues. Parents
and caregivers are questioned directly and sometimes fill
out lengthy questionnaires.
Note: The NIH has a full report regarding
diagnosis of AD(H)D that can be summarized
How is ADD treated?
Method of Treatment
A. Accept As Is: No Medical Treatment
This method may give the child a chance
to learn from his or her own mistakes, without danger of medication
problems or risk of curtailing the natural abilities of the
child. However, given this course of treatment, the child
may never reach his or her full potential. Research indicates
that untreated ADD children have a much higher incidence of
substance abuse and other problems.
B. Behavior Modification Only
modification is low in cost, and this method teaches the child
to work with their strengths. Advocates of behavior modification
state that a child that is treated with only medications will
never learn self-control on their own. Behavior modification
alone requires constant reinforcement, a difficult thing to
achieve on a daily basis. There are
no guarantees that the child will ever learn self-control.
Behavior Modification is an effective tool
for all parents to have at their disposal. To understand more
about what Behavior Modification is, and how it can be applied
in every home, click
here to find out.
C. Medication Therapies
Medication therapies provide an
immediate response than other therapies do. This type of therapy
allows the child to sustain
focus and decrease hyperactivity. The downside to medication
therapy is the potential side effects and the cost. In addition
there may be social issues that arise from taking medications,
especially if the doses are required during the school day.
used to treat ADD:
|Depakote (valproic acid).
out more about these medications
The multi-modal treatment is a combination
of medication and behavior modification. This method includes
the advantages of both. Behavior modification is more accessible
and made easier with the use of medication to help the child
slow down and focus. This is considered the most effective
form of treatment.
Coaching is a combination of behavior modification and cognitive
therapy. An ADD coach concentrates on working with
the patient to help them learn coping and behavioral techniques.
forms of treatment include Neurotherapy, Neurofeedback, Biofeedback,
Nutrition Therapy, Herbal Therapy. There isn't a
great deal of research or reporting on these procedures however,
and the results are not measurable.
It has been estimated (Dr. Larry Silver, "A Look at Learning
Disabilities in Children and Youth) that 10-20% of children
with learning disabilities also have AD(H)D. Other estimates
have put this figure as high as 30%.
C. Substance Abuse
Other Attentional and Behavior Disorders
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct
about Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder
your children take responsibility for their actions? Can you
effectively, as parents, teach your children responsibility
and the understanding that others are affected by their actions?
Answer these questions and learn more about how to best approach
the subject of cause and effect, and responsibility, to your
side effects of ADD and the comorbities include: Poor
self-esteem, anger, developmental
immaturity, and stress-related problems
V. I suspect that my child has ADD. What
do I do now?
If you've checked over the list of symptoms
and you believe that you or your child fall under the criteria
described, there are a number of avenues you can take. A professional
assessment is needed. The primary next source would be your
physician or pediatrician. You or your child should get a complete
physical examination. Explain your suspicions to your doctor.
Get possible referrals to a psychologist or psychiatrist, preferably
one who specializes in Attention Deficit Disorder. The schools
can be a good source, in fact, a very important source of both
information and assessment. If you suspect that your child has
ADD, you can ask your child's school for an assessment (after
finding out what kind of procedures the school uses in such
cases). Procedures vary from state to state, and sometimes from
school districts to school districts.
to Seek Out
- See your physician
- Consult with your
clergy to assist in spiritual and
- Consult with an educational
consultant to help you find the
right program for your child.
- Consult with a therapist
- Consult with an Educational Advocate to
help you with your current school situation
- Consult with an Educational Consultant
to find the right
program for your child.
out more about Educational Consultants
Growth School for ADD ADHD
Emotional Growth schools are highly
that stress academics and teach coping skills through the
of conflict resolution. Children learn they can make choices
and learn to accept responsibility through the use of modeling
behavior and outdoor therapy. The length of stay is between
9 and 18 months, at which time they either return to the mainstream
or attend a boarding school, if possible. Parents are involved
with the school staff and the children throughout the child's
attendance at the school.
out more about Emtional Growth School
Residential Boarding School for ADD ADHD
These schools are usually fully
accredited schools with
emotional growth programs. They stress holistic education:
growth of the person through holding children responsible
for their actions. There is no rehabilitation or physicians
Wilderness Program for ADD ADHD
A Therapeutic Wilderness program
does not necessarily have academics; their goal can be to
introduce the children to a
different role. These programs use Outdoor Therapy to help
build low self-esteem. They make obtainable goals for them
to reach. The programs vary but they are about 6 to 8 weeks
long. It is a very structured program with a goal of teaching
the children coping skills and raising their self0esteem.
Children go from this program to mainstream back into their
public school or attend a small structured boarding school.
out more about Therapeutic Wilderness Programs
Treatment School for ADD ADHD
A Residential Treatment Program
or School provides a full professional staff that includes
therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. They also have
a small academic program. Many
of the children in the program have been recommended there
by mental health agencies that make the placements. It is
a highly structured environment whose emphasis is on treatment
and learning coping skills and independent living. Chemical
dependence education and rehabilitation is also provided.
Outdoor therapy is sometimes used to facilitate building social
skills and self-esteem. Recovery programs are also available.
Residential Treatment schools are secure schools.
out more about Residential Treatment Schools
is right for my child?