Almost all children have times when their behavior veers out of
control. They may speed about in constant motion, make noise nonstop,
refuse to wait their turn, and crash into everything around them. At
other times they may drift as if in a daydream, failing to pay attention
or finish what they start.
However, for some children, these kinds of behaviors are more than an
occasional problem. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD), have behavior problems that are so frequent and severe
that they interfere with their ability to live normal lives.
These children often have trouble getting along with siblings and
other children at school, at home and in other settings. Those who have
trouble paying attention usually have trouble learning. An impulsive
nature may put them in actual physical danger. Because children with
ADHD have difficulty controlling this behavior, they may be labeled "bad
kids" or "space cadets."
ADHD is a condition of the brain that makes it difficult for children
to control their behavior. It is one of the most common chronic
conditions of childhood. It affects 4 percent to 12 percent of
school-aged children. About three times more boys than girls are
diagnosed with ADHD.
Left untreated, more severe forms of ADHD can lead to serious,
lifelong problems such as poor grades in school, run-ins with the law,
failed relationships, and the inability to keep a job.
But effective treatment is available. If your child has ADHD, your
pediatrician can offer a long-term treatment plan to help your child
lead a happy and healthy life. As a parent, you have a very important
role in this treatment.