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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Treatment of ADD in A Symptomless Child

04/23/2007

Question:

My boyfriend and his son live with me apparently his son was diagnosed with ADHD. I am concerned that he does not have ADHD. He is not overly active, has the patience to sit and figure things out. How can someone be diagnosed with ADHD when it is not obvious? I have raised three children and one with medical needs. I just do not believe this young child has ADHD. He is not a child that is out of control in any way I have read a large amount of information on ADHD and I still do not see it in him. Wanting info for a child being medicated for something he actualy does not have,, I know it is possible I need more info...

Answer:

From your description, he may and he may not. If he does, it is likely the inattentive type.

Officially (although it is not always quite this straight forward) for Inattentive ADHD, at least 6 of the 9 symptoms of inattention listed below must have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is a clear problem for your son and inconsistent with the his developmental level.

  1. Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  4. Often does not follow through with instructions and does not finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not because of oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
  5. Often has difficulties with organizing tasks and activities
  6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in homework that requires sustained mental effort
  7. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (eg, school assignments, pencils, books, tools, toys)
  8. Often is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  9. Often is forgetful in daily activities

It is very important for all of us to understand the children we care for as well as we can. Clearly you see this for, after all, you are asking questions to do just that! The best thing to do, if it is possible in your specific situation, would be to speak with the clinician who diagnosed him.

I wish you the best in your search for the answers to help you parent. We parents can use all the help we can find!

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