Time is the greatest gift for ADD children

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 11/18/97.

On the outside, their appearance is normal and you canít pick them out from other children in a classroom or playground. But children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) require the gift of time from adults.

Up to eight percent of all children may have ADD. It occurs ten times more often in boys than in girls. Most children with ADD also have learning problems in reading, math, speech and or language.

ADD is a syndrome which is characterized by serious and persistent difficulties in three specific areas: attention span, impulse control and hyperactivity.

An informational meeting was held at the Paynesville Area Elementary School on Nov. 11, to explain what ADD children are all about and how community members can help.

ďWe, as parents, are asking all members of the community to be a part of raising our children. The community comes into contact with these children on a daily basis,Ē Freida Jansen, a Paynesville mother of an ADD child, said. ďWe as parents live and struggle with these children on a daily basis, and we feel the more educated and aware the community is, then maybe the future generation will have a better chance of success.Ē

The child with ADD is not hyperactive, but may have many of the following difficulties: problems with concentration, difficulty following directions, does not finish what he or she starts, loses things (school work, books, etc.) may be very messy or overly neat, often quiet and shy, easily distracted by sights, sounds, movements, and may seem depressed.

Some of the symptoms may change as a child moves toward the teenage years. Hyperactivity may decrease, but risk-taking behavior may become more of a concern as children are exposed to driving, dating, and drugs and alcohol. The teenage years may be difficult for any child, but more so for the child with ADD.

ADD is a chronic disorder which can begin in infancy and can extend through adulthood while having negative effects on a childís life at home, school and within the community. It is conservatively estimated that three to five percent of our school population is affected by ADD.

Students who have exhibited the characteristics for longer than six months may be at risk for having an attention deficit disorder. However, a diagnosis of attention deficit should only be made after ruling out other factors related to medical, emotional or environmental variables which could cause similar symptoms. Therefore, physicians, psychologists, and educators often conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation of the child, including medical studies, psychological and educational testing, speech and language assessment.

ďADD and ADH have been here for years, itís just in the last 10 years or so that it has been labeled,Ē Roxanne Storm, Catholic Charities, St. Cloud, said. ďChildren need to feel better about themselves or ADD can lead them on a downward cycle and eventually land them in juvenile courts and/or prison.Ē

In April, a support group for parents with ADD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) children was started in Paynesville. The support group shares techniques and strategies on how to better work and cope with ADD children. They meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the elementary school. Anyone interested in more information can contact Freida Jansen, 320-243-7233 or Christi Higgins, 320-243-4702.

ďWe need to remember kids are kids and to see the good things in them and that they often have a difficult time coping with change,Ē Kevin OíNeal, school therapist, said.

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