Do any of the following “ring a bell”?

“Why can’t my child ever pay attention in class?”

“My son always ignores me.”

“Why can’t my child ever sit still?”

“My daughter’s teacher thinks she has ADD.”

“Hey, your kid should be on Ritalin!”

There are some kids who fidget more than others. Then, there are some kids who don’t have a long attention span. And, then there are those kids who actually have ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder). The main symptoms of ADHD are poor attention span, hyperactivity, and being impulsive.

The Academy of Pediatrics has developed ADHD criteria for school age children (ages 6 – 12 years). Keep in mind that any human being can have any of the signs and symptoms below. But, the important point is that if your child has them OFTEN, then he or she may need to be tested for ADHD.

Your child may have ADHD if he or she has:

6 or more of the following symptoms of inattention:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details, or makes careless mistakes
  • Often has difficulty maintaining attention
  • Often does not listen when spoken to
  • Often does not organize well
  • Often is reluctant to engage in tasks that require a lot of mental effort
  • Often is distracted by outside stimuli
  • Often is forgetful of everyday activities


6 or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity:

  • Often fidgets with hands and feet
  • Often gets up from seat in the classroom frequently
  • Often runs about or climbs when it is inappropriate
  • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Always “on the go”
  • Talks excessively
  • Often blurts out answers before questions are asked
  • Often has trouble waiting his turn
  • Often butts into conversations

Approximately 4 – 12% of school age children have ADHD. Parents and teachers are the primary people who bring it to the attention of a child’s physician.

Once your child’s physician knows you have a concern, then he or she can perform the right testing and make the diagnosis. Some children with ADHD need medicine, but others don’t. Some children can adapt and “grow out” of ADHD, but may need medicine until they get older.

If you have a suspicion, find the answer by bringing it to the attention of your doctor.

I hope all parents, teachers, and children are off to a good school year and will achieve great success this year!