Somewhere between 4-12 percent of school aged children have diagnosed attention deficit disorders. Most are identified in school aged children, but they can persist into adulthood for some people. Attention deficit disorders are categorized as predominately inattentive, predominately hyperactive/impulsive, or a combination of both. Any form of attention deficit can significantly affect the child’s academic achievement, social and emotional development. It is also important to recognize the toll that attention deficit behaviors can take on the entire family.

Some symptoms of inattentive and hyperactive attention deficit:

  1. Careless mistakes (due to rushing or failure to proofread/edit)
  2. Short attention span (unfinished classwork, half done projects)
  3. Poor listening skills (interrupt, never remember names or instructions, tend to “zone out”)
  4. Disorganization, called “lazy” or “apathetic”
  5. Distractibility
  6. Forgetfulness
  7. Fidgety, can’t stay seated, can’t play quietly
  8. Blurts out answers, has a hard time waiting for their turn

Behavioral therapies/interventions are the recommended first line of treatment. Sometimes medications are used in addition to behavioral therapies. Behavioral therapy consists of things like parental training in communication, positive feedback, effective use of time out and consistent discipline and coordination with school personnel. Most studies have shown that behavior therapy approach combined with medication is the most successful means of improving outcomes for the child and decreasing family stress. If you have concerns for yourself or a member of your family, please make an appointment to talk to your primary care provider.

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