There are three types of symptoms that tend to correlate with ADD and ADHD in children. Some children will have symptoms from all three categories. Some will have hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms but are able to pay attention. Those with ADD, do not suffer from the symptom of hyperactivity.
It is important to remember that many of these symptoms are common to all children and do not necessarily indicate this disorder. ADD and ADHD in children are both considered medical conditions and should only be diagnosed by a physician, NOT by your school. It is very difficult to diagnosis this disorder under the age of 6 or as a teenager. It is recommended that children be evaluated for ADD and ADHD between the ages of 6-12 years old.
In order to receive a diagnosis, a child should show SIX or more of the above symptoms for more than six months and the symptoms should occur in more than TWO settings.
ADD and ADHD in children are NOT caused by eating too much sugar, watching TV, having a poor home life or food allergies. Studies do show that these disorders can be caused by the following:
ADD and ADHD in children are both more common in boys and are considered childhood developmental disorders. Medication and behavior therapy may be recommended. Stimulants are often prescribed but they can have mild to serious side effects including decreased appetite, weight loss, sleeping problems and irritability. All medications should be monitored by a doctor.
Children with ADD and ADHD are also more at risk to have other learning disabilities and disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder. It is important when determing treatment options to make sure that your child receives a comprehensive evaluation that has examined all possible factors.
THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CHALLENGE:
A particular challenge for children with ADD and ADHD is that this disorder is NOT listed as one of the
13 qualifying categories of learning disabilities
identified by the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Parents are often rightly confused when their school tells them that their child does not qualify for special education when their doctor has just told them their child has this disorder. This is because having ADD or ADHD is not an automatic entry into special education. If you feel your child’s ability to learn is being adversely affected, you should ask your school for a student study team (SST) meeting.
If the team determines that modifications are appropriate for your child, they can be implemented through a 504 plan. Section 504 states that any child with a disability that affects a major life activity, such as learning, is subject to appropriate accommodations or modifications. This includes ADD and ADHD in children.
If you believe that your child's disorder is severe enough to warrant a placement in special education, you can request a
special education evlaution.
Here, you can introduce medical documentation and support from your physician(s). The IEP team will review the results of the evaluation, hear from medical personnel as well as from school staff. If the team determines that your child’s ADD/ADHD is severe, the IEP team can agree to qualify your child for special education under the category of “Other Health Impaired”.