Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or (ADHD) which is the same thing but with the word hyperactive added are certainly popular terms today. There is much written and indeed much controversy over their use and even their meaning. To say that there are children in school who are having difficulty concentrating, paying attention or sitting still is certainly true. Some may simply be bored, others may have a more serious problem but providing drugs to mask the symptom is rarely a good solution.
Drugs are certainly the easiest thing to do. Some teachers actually encourage their use because they slow down difficult children so that they require less attention from the teacher and are easier to manage in the class room. Some doctors believe drugs are their job so if you go to them with any problem they will identify your symptom and then prescribe a drug. The fact that your child may become dependant, or that it also slows down learning or that when it wares off there is a rebound effect that makes the problem worse does not seem to be considered very important by some. In fact, in one study that looked at one of the most popular drugs in common use today showed that it did help 23% of the children. It also showed that 49% got worse and the remaining 28% showed no effects.
The real problem with drugs is that it fails to deal with the cause of the problem. There are many possible causes and many possible solutions to why some children have these attention problems. However, unless the particular cause is understood, it is not possible to provide reasonable solutions. If your child has too much sugar in his diet that creates low blood sugar, you can not treat it successfully as a behavior problem. You can punish such a child all day long but that will not change the low blood sugar or effectively change the attention problem in any long term or meaningful way. If your child's sensory nervous system is easily over loaded by too much noise or too much movement that pulls his attention away from the given task, you can not succeed in helping such a child with drugs designed to mask a symptom. This does nothing to train the sensory nervous system into better filtering and suppression skills.
What parents need to know is that there are effective, safe and successful alternatives to drugs. Although some doctors feel that drugs are the only solution, all you need to do is go to any book store and you will find endless numbers of books on the subject all explaining solutions that have helped children without drugs.
Dr. Unruh has been providing solutions for attention difficulties by working with the child's family since 1965 . Dr. Unruh’s work has demonstrated that there are many strategies available to parents that can be perfectly safe and very effective. All it takes is some guidance and some information to help parents understand the problem. Then, parents can work on the solution. Generally, with a good history, interview and simple examination the cause or causes can be determined. Programs to meet the needs of the individual child can then be developed and explained.
Once the cause of the problem is resolved, the child no longer finds it difficult to stay focused. Self esteem is elevated and even general behavior is often improved because the child has gained self confidence and becomes more self assure. Resolving the cause will take time but the results are well worth the effort for the child, the parents and the school.