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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Identifying Possible ADD

10/31/2001

Question:

I am a first grade teacher. I have a student who, quite frankly, has me a bit baffled. He seems to be bright. However, he seems easily distracted and never finishes his work on time. I have tried moving him, isolating him, having him stay in recesses, sent him to the principal, talked, bribed, etc. and nothing seems to work. He is a foster child living with his aunt and uncle and 5 sisters. He seems happy and talks highly of his family. I`ve had other ADHD students who were totally hyper. He is not like that. He can contain himself just doesn`t complete work and often blurts out answers. My question is do you know of some sort of test or criteria I could base my opinions on? I`m not sure how his family would react to my suggesting that he may be ADD.Any insight or infomation you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

First, I commend you on your involvement and concern in your students welfare. Your job is an incredibly important one that is too often devalued. It certainly sounds like he COULD have ADD, inattentive type being the most likely, but there are other reasons that could be involved as well. The criteria used specifically for ADD are not criteria you are likely educated in assessing, at least not all of them. Perhaps you could urge them to get a work up for him based on your concerns that he may have a learning disability that could improve with skill-building or modifications to his environment. Such concerns are realistic from your description of him. You could add that he even seems to have some qualities of inattentive, not hyperactive, ADD (which he does, as you describe him) but that you feel he needs a good evaluation to sort it all out. Also, let them know that you would very much like to help by speaking with, or otherwise giving feedback to, whomever does the evaluation. Whatever the diagnosis, your feedback will be invaluable. Best of luck to you. Teachers are one of our greatest assets!

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Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati