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He is the kid who acts before he thinks. He is the kid with "the ants in his pants" who teachers and guidance counselors say could do the work if he really tried.

These children can turn a normal home into chaos, deepening even the most competent caring parents doubt about their ability to nurture and raise their young. A mystery malady? Minimal brain damage? Clinical depression?

More and more medical specialists, clinical neuropsychologists, and educators are recognizing Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity as the culprit. Indeed this is a critical issue that affects young children and even young adults.

Statistics show that 3-6% of American children suffer from ADD/ADHD. It can greatly impact a child's ability to concentrate, learn to make friends and develop a healthy sense of self-esteem. The child who cries all the time, the preschooler who flashes anger and cannot play with the other children or the child who ruins every picnic with uncontrollable tantrums may be a prime candidate for ADD/ADHD. Many more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. For this diagnosis, this may be because girls tend to be less aggressive and disruptive than boys.

It is important to identify the problem early. ADD/ADHD is often a terrible strain on families and can greatly influence a child's school success. However, it can be effectively diagnosed and responds readily to treatment.

Diagnosis and treatment should be done while the child is still young, before adolescence. It is essential to note that these drugs are not a cure-all. ADD/ADHD symptoms will re-emerge when the medication wears off. The drug allows the child to concentrate and hence, to learn. With therapy and supportive parenting, you may be able to effectively increase both desirable behavior and feelings of success and self-esteem.

© 2005 Dr. Gina Harris