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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Attention & Learning Disorders

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sometimes called attention deficit disorder (ADD), involves hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention and a tendency to act impulsively. Learning disorders involve problems with writing, math or reading (the best known of which is dyslexia). Oppositional defiant disorder is a related condition in which children oppose authority.
ADHD: Fast Facts

Reviewed By: Steven A. King, M.D.
  • ADHD is an acronym for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  • ADHD is a set of chronic conditions marked by an inability to pay attention, hyperactivity and a tendency to engage in impulsive acts.

  • Children with ADHD often struggle academically and may have difficulty establishing friendships and other relationships. As a result, they may develop poor self-esteem.

  • There are three different forms of ADHD that affect children: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive and combined.

  • Predominantly inattentive ADHD is marked by difficulty paying attention.

  • Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD is marked by difficulty controlling behavior.

  • Combined ADHD combines symptoms of the other two forms of ADHD.

  • Combined ADHD is the most common form of ADHD.

  • Between 3 and 5 percent of school-aged children - or about 2 million children in the United States - have ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

  • Boys are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, but the condition affects girls as well.

  • The exact cause of ADHD remains unknown.

  • Scientists now believe that changes in brain structure are a leading cause of ADHD.

  • Heredity also appears to play a role in the development of ADHD.

  • Poor parenting or disruptions at home or school cannot cause ADHD, although they may exacerbate the condition.

  • Diagnosis of AHD usually involves a variety of tests and interviews with parents, teachers and other adults who can describe the child's behavior.

  • Medications called psychostimulant drugs are the most common treatment for ADHD and appear to be extremely effective.

  • Psychotherapy is also helpful, particularly in children who are diagnosed with other disorders associated with ADHD.

  • Specialized learning techniques can help children with ADHD to perform better in school.

  • Parents can help their children to better deal with ADHD by providing additional structure to the child's life and making expectations clear.

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