Could your Child have Attention Deficit Disorder?

Christine will never forget the day her daughter’s teacher called about her child’s behavior in class.

“Ava’s teacher told me she was failing 4th grade because she was unable to stay on task long enough to complete her work,” Christine said. “She was constantly fidgeting, boring holes in erasers and making paper airplanes instead of doing her work like the other students.”

Ava was also being teased by her peers about her inability to focus.

“I was heartbroken for my daughter and knew she needed help, so I called her pediatrician, Dr. Spiegel.”

After a consultation which included a physical, questions about Ava’s history and a standardized questionnaire, Dr. Ronald Spiegel, Pediatrician for Snoqualmie Ridge Medical Clinic, determined that Ava has Attention Deficit Disorder.

Around 6 to 8% of children between the ages of 5 to 17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the United States.

“Both disorders involve poor attention skills and difficulty staying on task,” Dr. Spiegel said.

ADD symptoms generally include being easily distracted by environmental happenings, most commonly noises, such as a clock ticking, someone sneezing, car horn or dog barking, that distract them. ADHD has the addition of fidgety behavior and difficulty sitting still or being impulsive.

“I tend to describe it as the struggle with a ‘noisy brain’ that has a flood of images and ideas and memories that get in the way of completing some task,” Spiegel said. “The brain lacks an ability to filter out distractions. For example, if a child sits down to do math homework, they may be battling with a flood of other thoughts, which leads to mistakes or an inability to get the problems done.”

Spiegel added that it is important to understand that the child is not trying to act out or purposely disrupt a classroom.

“Your child is simply unable to control the impulsive behavior of blurting out answers or talking with their neighbor during class,” Spiegel said. “Other behaviors include disrupting games on the playground which can lead to disagreements and later isolation from friends.”

ADHD tends to be more prominent in males whereas females tend to present predominantly with ADD. Genetics and environmental factors play a role in as well. Studies show that premature infants run a much higher risk.

These issues continue throughout the child’s life into adulthood, affecting jobs and even relationships.

These disorders are generally diagnosed during a consultation with a healthcare provider and the use of standardized questionnaires. However, there are circumstances in which depression or anxiety disorder or other mood issues may present as ADD/ADHD. Consulting with a provider is essential to figuring out the best treatment for your child.

There are many effective treatments that can help kids with ADD/ADHD improve their ability to pay attention, control impulsive behavior and curb hyperactivity. Medication has proven to be very effective. Nutritious meals, play and exercise, and learning better social skills are also part of a balanced treatment plan that can improve performance at school, improve your child’s relationships with others, and decrease stress and frustration.

“Talking to Dr. Spiegel was the best decision I have made for Ava,” Christine said. “She is now in 8th grade and doing well in school, without being so distracted by her surroundings. I’m very proud of her!”

If you feel your child is displaying symptoms of ADD/ADHD, contact Dr. Spiegel at Snoqualmie Ridge Medical Clinic, at 425-396-7682. The clinic is located at 35020 SE Kinsey St., Snoqualmie and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

To learn more about Dr. Spiegel, click here.