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A Focus on Attention Deficit Disorder

During normal times, March brings a much welcome break where many escape winter. This year has been anything but typical. This year, March break might be a time to spend with family, do activities at home but also a time to take stock.

I have had many families reporting that they are wondering about a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder in their children. A number of factors may had made these requests more frequent this year.  The switch to on line learning has been a challenge for many children and their caregivers. The absence of extracurricular activities may also have prevented many children from “blowing off steam.” Parents may be more aware of how their children learn when they are at home.

Attention deficit disorder is an often misunderstood condition. It is a very real neurodevelopmental condition and it is very treatable. Current medications have little risk of addiction. There are three types of ADD. The inattentive type is more common in girls than boys and is often dubbed the “daydreaming” kind of ADD. The hyperactivity type of ADD is more common in boys and is associated with increased restlessness and physical activity. The third type is a combined form that has elements of both.

ADD impacts not only academic progress. Impulsivity and difficulty managing emotions also leads to difficulty in relationships. In the past, “medication holidays” were recommended but the current recommendation is to avoid these periods of stopping medication as there are social and life skill tasks that are important even during times away from school.  

CADDRA is a resource alliance that educates around ADD. The first step to diagnosis is to completing scales that are used by health care providers to assess symptoms. The SNAPIV questionnaire is available on their website and should ideally be filled out separately by parents and teachers. The CADDRA website is also an excellent place to find information around diagnosis, non-pharmacologic treatment and medication.  https://www.caddra.ca/

A delay in diagnosis also leads to loss of self-esteem and loss of time for academic and life skill progress.  It is time for us to focus on considering this seriously if we notice changes in our children.

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and grandmother of one lovely princess! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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