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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Selective Inattentive ADHD

03/06/2006

Question:

Hello I am researching inattentive ADHD since attending a parent/teacher conference about my 8 year old son. His teacher said that he is attention deficit and that really surprised me as he is not hyperactive. He is busy, but no more than other boys his age. His teacher confirmed this. However, I looked at the internet and the inattentive type was brought to my attention. I read the checklist for girls that you pointed out to another parent looking for information, and it was like looking at my son. Every point would apply except feeling different from others. He doesn`t have many friends, but does have close friendships with "typical" kids. Realtionship-wise I have no real concerns. He tries very hard, but becomes easily frustrated and can`t seem to help his mind wandering. My husband and I joke about "how lovely Jupiter is at this time of year". Oops. He has strong reading skills, average math skills and "weak" writing skills. His spelling is poor. He spends too much time looking out the window (his teacher has him on the other side of the room). He is very mildly fidgety. He struggles with feeling anxious. However, if something is of great interest to him, he can concentrate for hours. He can read uninterrupted for long periods of time. Can this disorder be selective depending on what the child is trying to focus on?

Answer:

First, I greatly apologize. Once again we had problems with the electronic referral system and I did not receive a notification of your question. I noted it today because another question just came in.

We all have selective attention whether we have ADD or not; those things we enjoy and are relatively good at we are all able to spend much more time on relative to those things we find boring and/or we have to struggle with. Thus, it is true for someone with ADD as well. The way you describe your son certainly could be the description of someone with inattentive ADD although I would need much more than your description to make such a diagnosis.

For more information:

Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder health topic, where you can:

Response by:

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