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Could it be ADD or ADHD?

I swear the minute our son, Sean, learned to walk he immediately learned to run. Everything about him was a ball of boundless energy! He was also moody, anxious and easily frustrated. However, there were small pockets of time where he would sit and daydream (especially in time out!). Because he was speech delayed due to his brain tumor, he was a biter. When he finally learned to form sentences after starting special ed preschool at age 3, he spoke non-stop!

As he grew, he had trouble making friends. When he occasionally had a friend over, he never wanted to lose at board games. He was a very sore loser. He also constantly wanted my attention, regardless of what I was doing or who I was talking to.

As he started grade school, he had trouble staying focused on tasks. He also had trouble shifting from one task to another. At home, this caused constant frustration. In the classroom he would blurt out answers before being called on.

Getting these kids to sleep can be a daunting task. They can be bed wetters well past their developmental stage. Waking them up in the morning can also be a challenge.

They often have messy rooms and constantly lose things. With Sean, we often ended up buying duplicates of items after searching in vain for the missing item. If you remember the movie, "Stuart Little", there was a stuffed animal too, and Sean named him Stuart. In anticipation of the day Stuart might be lost, I bought 2 extra Stuarts that I kept hidden for that stormy day!

He had a lot of ear infections and a lot of food allergies. He was an extremely picky eater. But this topic will be covered in a future blog on Sensory Processing Disorder.

So if some of these behaviors have been showing up at your home for more than six months, it's time to see your pediatrician. You will be asked to complete a checklist of items, and you will have the teacher fill one out as well. Then you will submit these to your doctor. She will give you a diagnosis and support if it's appropriate.

Now that we've seen the challenging side of ADD/ADHD - let's look at some of the positive things. These kids have a sparkling personality! They are extremely creative. Sean taught himself how to draw with perspective at a very young age. They can be very humorous and are usually a good conversationalist.

They are often very compassionate. Sean wanted us to adopt a young man recently that didn't have any parents. They are persistent! They often provide a different perspective to a problem. They are very enthusiastic and spontaneous. Their energy and drive can help motivate us when we are wanting to give up!

As parents of these kids, it can be extremely challenging to keep peace in the home. So in next Friday's blog, I will spend a little time talking about how to harness their energy and help keep them organized and motivated at home and school.

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