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Understanding AD/HD

By Moshe Elbaum of
Most people who think about ADD or ADHD think of the child who is hyper-active, who is unable to follow directions or stay "on task," and who is easily distracted. These classic characteristics of ADD/ADHD can be broken into three specific categories:

  1. Impulsivity (e.g. outbursts, difficulty waiting in line)
  2. Inattention (e.g. easily distracted, can't easily remember or recall information)
  3. Hyperactivity (e.g. fidgeting or squirming, inability to sit still)

ADD/ADHD is often classified as a learning disability because the characteristics of both can interfere with learning processes. The child's inability to filter out distractions may lead to the child being unfairly perceived as needy, compulsive, a troublemaker, lazy, or undisciplined.

What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?
Basically there is no difference between the two. ADD is simply an older version of the term ADHD. The confusion between the names stems from the use of "inattention" vs. "hyperactive" when describing ADD/ADHD.

Most people assume that all children with ADHD will be hyperactive, whereas children with ADD are inattentive. However, this is one of a number of common misconceptions.

What are the common myths about ADD and ADHD?

Myth 1: Boys are more frequently diagnosed with ADHD than girls

While it is true that boys have a higher rate of hyperactivity reported in ADHD cases, girls with ADHD suffer greater intellectual impairment. (SOURCE: Gaub and Carlson 1997)

Myth 2: Minority children are diagnosed with ADHD more frequently than non-minority children

There are far too few studies to indicate whether minority children are diagnosed more frequently. However, a 1998 study indicated that 50% of minority children with ADHD were not receiving any treatment, that girls were underserved 3 times more than boys, and that white children were three times more likely to be treated for ADHD symptoms. (SOURCE: Bussing et. al. 1998)

Myth 3: ADHD is too frequently diagnosed

Studies done in 1998 and 1999 suggest that ADHD is actually under-diagnosed because some symptoms can be masked with good time management and concentration techniques. (SOURCE: Jensen et. Al 1999, Barkley, 1998)

Myth 4: ADHD is a learning disability

ADHD is not a learning disability. However, it is often classified as one because the symptoms of ADHD make it difficult for the child to learn.

Myth 5: ADHD is a childhood difficulty and can be outgrown

A 1997 study by Hunt estimated that between 1.5-2 percent of all adults have ADHD.

Myth 6: ADHD is not a real disorder and is just a label given to "troublesome" children by educators

Studies which cover a range of approximately 100 years demonstrate that ADHD is a real disorder which affects daily, emotional, social, academic, and work function. (SOURCE: Barkley 1998)

Myth 7: ADHD can be avoided with good parenting skills

While it is true that organization, good planning/time management, and positive reinforcement minimize ADHD symptoms, parenting alone does not determine whether or not a child will develop ADHD.

What are some of the common signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD?

  • The child appears not to listen when spoken to.
  • The child can't remember or follow even simple instructions.
  • The child appears disorganized, doesn't finish projects on time, or can't plan ahead (e.g. fails to bring a permission trip to school so he can go on a field trip.)
  • The child frequently misplaces or loses items such as boots, toys, homework, coat, book bag, etc.
  • The child is constantly moving, fidgeting, or squirming even after being reprimanded.
  • The child makes his own rules such as getting up and walking around when other children are sitting or speaking during quiet time.
  • The child blurts out answers and/or talks too much and/or interrupts others.
  • The child demonstrates outbursts of strong emotions such as anger, sadness, disappointment, etc.

Is medication the only option to treat ADD/ADHD?

No. While many doctors prefer to use medications to minimize outbursts and squirming, the side effects of many of these medications may leave children feeling like zombies. Parents may wish their child's personality was not masked by the medication.

Thankfully, there are many medicine-free alternatives to treating ADD/ADHD. Experts in ADD/ADHD such as Moshe Elbaum founder of Intelligence Integration (also known as the Elbaum Method have helped over 15,000 children through physical exercises by strengthening eye movements, gross and fine motor skills, and using gray meditation to help children with ADD/ADHD to focus, minimize fidgeting and outbursts.

At Home Tips for Parents

  1. Be a Role Model Set a good example by using good manners, avoiding extreme emotions, being patient, and following through with what you say you will do.
  2. Reward Good Behavior Reinforce the behaviors you want your child to build on. Promise yourself that you will praise your child more than you will critique.
  3. Be Consistent If you joint parent with a partner, spouse, or ex, be sure that you are both on the same page. Children thrive in structure and expect you to be consistent with your decisions on a daily basis.
  4. Plan Ahead Learn to identify the triggers or situations which cause problems for your child. For example, if your child is distracted by sitting in the back of the classroom, ask the teacher if she can put your child in the front row to minimize problems.
  5. Keep Open Communication While children need rules and boundaries, they can participate in the process. Ask them to create rules you can live with.
  6. Give Clear Instructions Children with ADD/ADHD can become easily distracted or forget long lists. Simplify and use concise language when giving directions.
  7. Create a Routine Establish predictable routines for morning and evening activities.
  8. Get Plenty of Sleep Set firm bedtimes to ensure that your child gets plenty of rest.
  9. Stay Organized Use bins or baskets which are labeled to keep your home organized.
  10. Take Notes Encourage your child to write down instructions and assignments for easy reference.

Moshe Elbaum, Founder and Developer of the method, , has taught and helped thousands of children, adolescents, and adults throughout the last 22 years in training centers, colleges, grade schools, and in his private practice in Israel and around the world. .

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.
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