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    ADHD diagnosis
    By Julianne

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    Some parents (and some teachers) will try to label all exuberant behavior as an attention problem. It's easier than trying to figure out what might really be going on with that child, I think. A real diagnosis for ADHD or ADD takes careful consideration. One component of a proper diagnosis is a checklist for the teacher, one for parents, and one for a psychologist who needs time to evaluate the student in their classroom. Without this kind of careful observation it is too easy to slap a label on a kid and ask that he be medicated.

    Another indication is in how many settings a child exhibits attention problems. If he's a real cut-up in class, but has no troubles getting his chores done at home, his room is tidy, his scout master enjoys him, then it's probable that his problems stem from something other than attention deficit. But if he is suffering attention problems in multiple settings there's an increased probability he could benefit from medication.

    A last test of whether we're doing the right thing by medicating a child comes after they are on an attention prolonging drug. The teacher and other adults should make every effort to continue to monitor the child and see if he improves. It's been my experience that a child who can benefit from being medicated will dramatically improve when he receives an appropriate dose of medication. If the child doesn't improve, or improves only minimally, it may be time to look for other causes of his school troubles.

    When my son was placed on medication (after following all the above advice from a wonderful, caring teacher) he told his teacher, "My mind is like my messy room, and the ritilin is like my Mother who comes in and cleans it up so I can tell where everything is." Now I call that a difference!



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