PFE Article


“Attention Deficit Disorders”

By Vivian Owens

You have noticed Kaitlyn’s frenzied motion and her lack of attention when you talk to her. Her teacher contacted you numerous times about her own inability to keep your daughter occupied for longer than two minutes. The teacher asked you to take Kaitlyn to a doctor for a checkup; and the teacher mentioned the word “disorder” several times. You told the teacher you were sorry for your child’s misbehavior and you would have a talk with Kaitlyn, but it seemed kind of silly to you to see a doctor simply because Kaitlyn has the attention span of a flea. Actually, all this talk about “attention span” confuses you, and you don’t want to be bothered. Anyway, everyone knows Kaitlyn is hyperactive—that’s her normal. Lots of your friends say their children are hyperactive. Should you be concerned just because the teacher called?

Here’s a quick overview of the most common attention deficit disorder, and the symptoms may describe your observations of Kaitlyn. However, do seek professional help for true diagnoses.

ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a learning disability characterized by over-activity, inability to pay attention for very long, impulsive actions, or maybe a combination of these. Whether these symptoms are ADHD or not depend on the normal range for a child in a specific age group.

In a given classroom, Kaitlyn may not be alone. Occurring quite commonly, ADHD is a disorder noted by many classroom teachers. Some teachers see this behavior worsen, if children eat unusual amounts of candy in a given day. Other teachers note extreme hyperactivity following lunch periods. Unfortunately, sometimes teachers observe these extreme behaviors when there is no particular food engagement or social interaction behavior. In our roles as parents, we want to also observe our children’s behavior; and we want to talk to their teachers to compare notes or to gain greater perspective.

If you know friends or family whose children have been diagnosed with ADHD, you may have heard them say that their children are taking specific medications. These are stimulants often prescribed to treat the disorders. Once upon a time, specialists in behavior modifications were contacted first as a resource in training the child to change his/her behavior and to redirect those energies. Now, more than 80% of children with attention problems are treated with medications.

After you have observed kaitlyn’s behavior and any disturbing activities, it is time for you to seek professional help.

Write to Vivian Owens and share your observations & experiences with ADHD. Also, please share your solutions to any problems caused by your child’s ADHD. Vivian is a certified teacher as well as the author of the book, Parenting for Education: Revised Edition. Contact:

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