As the school year ended many parents were given a warning that if their children’s behavior does not improve the school will ask for them to be tested for Attention Deficit Disorder – also known as ADD. The implication is that if the child is found to have ADD then they would be medicated and this would help improve their behavior. But it’s important for parents to know that no all bad behavior is the result of ADD. And not every child with ADD has bad behavior.
When a child has ADD their mind wanders and they are easily distracted. So teachers may find them looking out the window having not heard a word of what was being said in the classroom. They play with things and fidget when they should be paying attention. They may forget to bring homework to school or forget to do it at all. Other children may not like to play with them because they quickly lose interest in the games they are playing or can’t seem to follow the rules. So children with ADD often may appear to loners or at least more isolated then other children. They do best with one friend at a time. Sometimes, when they become frustrated, they may become behavior problems for teachers. They may make noise, cause distractions, touch other children, or do other things which require the teacher to address them during a lesson. Teachers with many children in their classroom and a lot of pressure from their principals to achieve high standardized scores will find these behaviors to be more then they wish to handle and so they hope that medication will stop those activities from occurring. But if your child has good grades and bad behavior they are paying attention. They do not have ADD.
Sometimes children who have ADD also have hyperactivity. That means they move around a lot. These children often break things, touch things they shouldn’t and seem careless and clumsy. It is actually this behavior that causes a problem at home and in school. Child can have ADD without hyperactivity. Those are the kids who get lost! Because they aren’t causing a problem teachers may just think they are not smart and can’t keep up. It’s unfortunate that so few people can really identify ADD and only see it as a behavioral problem rather then an attention problem.
An ADD child without a behavior issue will most likely do better on medication. It will help them stay focused and their grades should improve. Better grades leads to better self esteem and a happier child. If the bad behavior was a result of ADD, that should improve too. But if your child has behavior issues not related to ADD medication will not help. And you may find you are being told your child needs more medication. Finding a professional in your community who can assist you with parenting issues will produce far better results in that case then medication ever will.
So be a diligent parent. Take an active role in deciding how your child’s behaviors should be addressed. Ultimately it is you who must decide if your child is going to take medication for their ADD. Ask questions and be informed.