Does your child have difficulty sitting for long periods of time and paying attention at school and in other settings? If so, it could be just typical of his behavior, or it could be a sign of attention deficit disorder. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

Nonetheless, there are certain factors you can be on the lookout for, which may indicate that you should have your child assessed for an attention deficit problem. 


You've probably heard a lot about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is also sometimes called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Both names refer to the same condition that typically appears in children around the age of four and causes much distress for them, their classmates, teachers and families.

Attention deficit disorder is described by experts as a brain imbalance that makes it difficult for the child to process information and stimulation properly, causing a wide range of related symptoms. These include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Susceptibility to be distracted
  • Inability to sit still
  • Tendency to interrupt others
  • Impatience waiting in line
  • Problem following directions
  • Engaging in dangerous activities and taking unnecessary risks

Children with attention deficit can show signs of some, or all, of these and other behaviors. It is also interesting to note that boys are about three times more likely than girls to suffer from this condition.

For children who have attention deficit disorder, the difficulties it causes in the classroom and in social situations can take a toll on self esteem. Some kids who suffer from this condition become anxious or depressed if they don't receive help managing the symptoms.


If you suspect your child could have attention deficit disorder, you might want to meet with your pediatrician or a mental health professional to have a thorough evaluation done and confirm whether this is indeed a problem and if so, how best to respond to it. Keep in mind that the signs of attention deficit can appear differently in each child and therefore can take quite a while to diagnose properly. This can often be a process that occurs over several months and also requires ruling out other conditions that cause similar symptoms. Often a team approach is needed, with your family, teachers and medical professional working together to get a clear picture of how your child responds in a variety of different situations.

Treatment Options

You can't cure attention deficit disorder, but with the guidance of a professional, there are things you can do to help manage your child's symptoms. Work with a doctor to develop a long-term plan that could include a combination of behavior modification techniques and medication. Your family's support is also an essential part of helping your child overcome the challenges inherent in attention deficit disorder. With the right plan in place, your child can learn how to successfully navigate her activities every day.