ADHD and Hyperfocus: It's a Good Thing

ADHD children hyperfocusThe ability or tendency to hyperfocus is often a characteristic of ADHD.

Even though kids who have ADHD often have a lot of trouble paying attention at school, many of them can easily focus on something they're passionately interested in.

One little boy finally started to read when he was given a book on dinosaurs--his passion! He could focus on dinosaurs all day long.

Although the tendency to hyperfocus in ADHD kids is often considered a negative symptom, I disagree. It can mean the difference between success and failure!

Of course, hyperfocusing isn't always

"ADHD Transformation" Calls for Smart Parents

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Get answers with a Complimentary "ADHD Transformation" call with me, Dr. MaryJoWagner. Apply Now!

Getting the ADHD Diagnosis Right: What to Say to Your Child’s Pediatrician

At least 63 common conditions can cause behavior that looks like ADHD. In other words, you or your child's teacher might think that your child has ADHD when in fact they have something else.

It’s easy to make the wrong diagnosis and well-meaning parents, teachers, even pediatricians are doing it everyday.

Misdiagnosing ADHD remains a serious problem because the wrong diagnosis often means a prescription for powerful stimulant drugs that your child doesn’t need.

If your child is taking a drug she doesn't need because of the wrong diagnosis, she could have side-effects, sometimes serious, to these drugs.

As a parent, when your child’s teacher says "I think Angela has ADHD," ask the teacher to describe Angela's specific behavior. Ask if Angela acts this way in other classes. Did she act this way in class last year.

Always keep in mind that teachers are not medical doctors or trained in psychology, much less psychiatry. They do not qualified to diagnosis ADHD, anymore than they are qualified to diagnose pneumonia, cancer, or brain tumors. That is not their job.

If the teacher says that he doesn't think Angela has problems in other classes and didn’t have a problem last year, then you know it’s a

ADHD or School?

Caitlin’s teacher called. Caitlin was acting up in class, wasn’t paying attention and often didn’t bother finishing her work. Sometimes she just "zoned out."

Caitlin’s teacher was concerned.

She knew that Caitlin was one of the brightest kids in her class. Knew Caitlin could do excellent work. Could get straight As.

Then the teacher suggested to Caitlin’s Mom that she thought Caitlin had ADHD.

That Caitlin should be tested. Perhaps put on a drug for the disorder. Caitlin’s Mom was stunned. How could she have missed this?

So what should Caitlin’s parents do? Agree with the teacher? Tell the pediatrician that the teacher said their daughter has ADHD? Ask for a prescription?

If Caitlin’s parents do a bit of homework—even a quick internet search—they’d soon discover that ADHD isn’t something a child (or an adult) has just at school or just at home or just when they go to Grandma’s house.

Children with ADHD have this behavior in at least two different environments and often in almost every situation--except for playing video games and doing things they're passionately interested in.

In Caitlin’s example, school was the only place she exhibited ADHD behavior, and she didn’t show any of these tendencies in school last year. So Caitlin’s folks can rule out ADHD.

But what’s going on instead? Why is Caitlin acting up at school?

Turns out Caitlin is

ADHD or Stress?

Jerrod’s pediatrician took him off stimulant drugs for ADHD—and all the other medications he was on.

Jerrod had been excessively hyperactive and impulsive, unable to focus on even the simplest schoolwork.

The drugs helped hyperactivity but Jerrod still didn’t pay much attention to school. His grades were still lousy.

Some days the combination of drugs made Jerrod sleepy and spaced out. At least he wasn’t getting into trouble every day.

Now Jerrod’s a happy 9-year-old, doing much better in school than last year, and rarely gets into trouble. What happened?

ADHD or Lack of Sleep?

Some kids have ADHD. Some kids act like they have ADHD but they don’t really have it. What’s going on? Could be that these kids simply aren’t getting enough sleep!

Lack of sleep is so common and so serious now that teachers report kids in their classes falling asleep at school!  How can your child learn math if they just fell asleep while the teacher was explaining how to do long division?

Motivation, alertness, and memory are three of the most important factors that help kids learn, get good grades and high test scores. If your child is sleepy at school, their motivation, alertness and memory are pretty low.  Lack of sleep from pre-school through college is at epidemic levels.

Researchers are reporting that the average child is

Dr. MaryJo Wagner Says "No" and Looks Like a Flake!

By now, dear readers, you're well aware that I've been blessed with this thing they call ADHD. And oh, what a gift--I'm creative, have lots of brilliant ideas, am optimistic, funny, and pretty sharp.

Most ADHD kids and adults fit that description.

But thanks to an overload of brilliant ideas which is often accompanied by a complete lack of

Quiet Time before School Starts: It's Fun and Required for School Success

Is your youngster only quiet when asleep or watching TV?

Kids need quiet activities that require focus and concentration. The trick is getting them to do it.

And it's especially important for them to practice some quiet time before school starts. They'll be asked to sit quietly in school and often get in trouble if they don't.

You need the down-time too. Schedule some time every day which doesn't involve driving kids to the pool, and you'll stop counting the days till they're back in school.

O.K. I admit that hammering and building like the boys in the picture are doing isn't quiet. But it does require sitting still (or kneeling), concentration, and not too much talking. Plus it's creative. Count it as a great quiet time activity.

Succeeding in school requires the ability to be quiet and focus. Your kids will benefit by

Back to School without ADHD

Worried that ADHD or ADHD-like behavior will get in the way of good grades and high test scores, not to mention completed homework, when your kids go back to school?

ADHD always got in the way of school success for me. I loved school and had the very best intentions but my brain just wouldn't cooperate.  Back then nobody had even heard the words "attention deficit disorder," much less had resources to provide for those of us who couldn't sit still, couldn't concentrate.

If you had ADHD when I was growing up, you just struggled, got in trouble at school a lot, and listened to your parents and teachers tell you that you weren't living up to your potential.

Now the challenge is

ADHD: Did Your Kid Get the Right Diagnosis?

Ethan is hyperactive, acts without thinking, talks out of turn and can't pay attention. Mom thinks he has ADHD.

Sophia is "spacey," never seems to know what's going on, doesn't make friends at school, and her grades are lousy. Her teacher says she has ADHD. Is Ethan's Mom right? Is Sophia's teacher right? Maybe so. Maybe not.

ADHD is real. That's a fact. And it can cause all kinds of problems in school, with friends, at home. It can make kids miserable and their parents frantic. It can drive teachers crazy. ADHD-like behavior is epidemic, but ADHD itself is

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