Could It Be ADD?

I’m NOT one to see a kid do something an immediately label them. I’m slow to judge in that regard and consider it a travesty when folks see children playing boisterously and label them hyperactive (as an example).


CootieGirl? May have ADD/ADHD. I know, I know – I can hear my mother right now “Well, if you change her eating habits and give her less processed food and give her vitamins she’ll probably calm down.”

Her teacher has mentioned her thoughts to us, and we’ve noticed some things as well and just chalked it up to CG being CG. Plus – it’s not often that girls are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD – that’s more of a boy thing (and I think it’s a tragic misdiagnosis in most cases).

But looking at the list of symptoms? CG fits the bill on almost all of them (my comment are in italic.

  • Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities. This is so true. Even playing Candyland she gets distracted and starts doing something else while we’re in the middle of a game, whether it’s going to grab a toy from the box or leaving to go play the piano for a minute.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. I can’t tell you how many times she’ll look away while I’m talking to her and then not know what I was saying when I ask her to repeat the words I just said.
  • Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions). This is her teacher’s biggest complaint.
  • Often has trouble organizing activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework). She HATES doing homework even though it takes about 60 seconds and usually constitutes coloring or drawing or matching items.
  • Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Is often easily distracted. see comment about playing Candyland above.
  • Often forgetful in daily activities.
  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat. The girl NEVER sits still. NEVER. She is ALWAYS moving.
  • Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected. Dinnertime is a struggle because despite telling her to stay seated she’ll end up “hovering” rather than sitting in her chair. She’s never fully seated despite repeated commands to do so..
  • Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless). Have I told you about the time that she threw herself down and began excitedly crawling on the floor of our local Cracker Barrel because she was so happy about eating there??
  • Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly. The girl is LOUD when she plays – to the point where I have to tell her to play quietly and by “quietly” I mean no shouting at her dolls.
  • Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”. See above: always moving.
  • Often talks excessively. I don’t call her a chatterbox for nothing.
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
  • Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
  • So yeah, it’s something to think about. I’m not one to arbitrarily put my kids on heavy meds, but knowing that it’s LIKELY that she has ADD/ADHD I’ll be able to find ways of working with it to help her overcome the problems behind it and be a good student as she gets older. I’ve already noticed she has NO PATIENCE when it comes to learning to read. She’ll recognize the first letter and guess what word it is. And regardless of HOW many times I’ve told her the key to reading is to sound out the word, she hates doing it because it takes too long and she forgets the second letter by the time she gets to the fifth one.

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    If you liked that post, read on...

    Update on CootieGirl's PottyTraining on February 13th, 2008

    A CootieGirl Story on March 17th, 2008

    Not Another One... on December 17th, 2008

    A Little Thankfulness on March 22nd, 2007


    1. My friend’s female twins in First Grade were just diagnosed. Just thought it was interesting since you mentioned it was more prominent in males.

    2. I consider it a blessing that I was blissfully ignorant of all the new labels. Out of my nine children, probably eight of them would have been labeled either ADD or ADHD if I’d let them anywhere those with a propensity to diagnose such things. They have ALL met most of the criteria at some time during their lives and are now either productive adults or well on their way to being such. Jane, ALL these behaviors are typical of normal children! And be aware that CG’s school will get extra money, every single day, for diagnosing and labeling her. It’s a huge incentive to make the criteria as broad as possible, encompassing traits and tendencies that any parent should expect.

      However did the world get along so well for so long before “knowing” about these collections of perfectly normal behaviors….

    3. I think we should definitely limited the kids TV watching, and no TV during dinner time. That’s just a start.

    4. Cathi – I have no intention of EVER letting the school test my kids for ADD/ADHD. While I’m sure there are SOME kids that require medication because of EXTREME cases, I know that CG is probably just in need of some self-discipline – which she’ll learn as she gets older. But for now it’s frustrating that I have to tell her ten times to get her PJs on because she gets sidetracked when she finds a piece of lint on the floor. *rolls eyes*

    5. Ditto Cathi, Denis and Jen. My two cents:

      Food: You predicted that I would have to say it ~ can’t help myself ~ food might also be the culprit. Case in point, the positive result of taking Cootieboy off of milk. It might be worth it to experiment to see if taking her off of milk sugar and other sugars, including and especially high fructose corn syrup (which is in too many foods to mention and makes me livid; read all food labels, people) will help her attention span.

      TV: You may recall years ago I mentioned the harm that TV is having on small children because the heightened, intense visual motion of characters, even cartoons, messes with the wiring in the brain as childrens’ brains are developing, making it hard for them to concentrate.

      Just another Granny speaking…

    6. Fully agree with Cathi & Denis & Granny too 🙂

      Matt’s Mom is a school nurse and I can vouch for Cathi’s statement on $’s the school receives for diagnoses …
      As a young child, we didn’t have a TV in our household at all – Radio, records and tape’s were the norm.

    7. Ditto Denis and Marmie. I got my best grades in school when we lived overseas and had no television. I find that even now time spent watching TV or sitting in front of the computer affects my ability to concentrate.

    8. I hate to agree with Mom ;)but even with a formal diagnosis I would explore how diet can affect ADD. I have seen food make a tremendous difference in each of my children for various reasons.

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