Disclaimer: there is a common misconception that ADD and ADHD are different, but that’s not really true. ADD is actually one type of ADHD. You’ll understand the differences better after you read the article below.
When you send your kid to his room to get his baseball mitt, he forgets why he’s up there. He never remembers where his glasses are, or his socks, or his school books. He just doesn’t pay attention when you’re trying to help him with his homework, or giving directions. You are at your wit’s end; if your wit’s end had its own end, that’s where you would be. But he doesn’t fidget, he doesn’t act impulsively, and he isn’t restless. He sits quietly in school; he doesn’t act out. You may think that if your child has “ADD,” ImpactADHD can’t help you. We have some good news, though. Your kid has ADHD. Not the “good” news you were expecting, is it!? Let us explain.
For many years, ADD and ADHD were considered separate conditions, by both the health community and parents. In 1994, the DSM, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, revised its criteria, and ADD disappeared. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist – as you well know! It just means that it falls under the umbrella of ADHD. There are three different types of ADHD:
- ADHD-Predominately Inattentive. Symptoms include difficulty paying attention, lack of follow-through, trouble with organization, easily distracted, forgetful, reluctant to start and finish tasks requiring sustained attention (such as homework).
- ADHD-Predominately Hyperactive. Symptoms include restlessness, a motor always turned to “Turbo,” incessant chatter, fidgeting, trouble waiting his/her turn, interrupting others, difficulty sitting still, and impulsive behavior.
- ADHD-Combined. This is a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive types.
The DSM may have changed, but many of us weren’t in on it! The belief that ADD and ADHD are distinct conditions is still prevalent. In the psychology and health world, though, ADD and ADHD are technically the same. That doesn’t mean your Predominately Inattentive child will begin to look like a child with Hyperactivity. Rather, your inattentive child will not likely look just like any other inattentive child! He is unique and will have symptoms and challenges that are uniquely his. He will also have his own strengths, and be influenced by his own parents.
Every child is different, and the support that you might need to put into place for any child with ADHD — inattentive child, hyperactive, or both – is going to change over time as your child’s needs change! It is going to be different this year than it was last year.
It is not like juvenile diabetes, for instance, where the solution is insulin. There is no one “solution” for ADHD. What we know is that kids thrive with a multimodal, or multipronged, approach to treatment and management. A range of supports can include:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Talk therapy
- Special education (IEP, 504 plans, etc.)
- Social skills groups
- Parent training
Parent training, including coaching, is an effective treatment and management tool. When you have the tools you need to manage your kid, you can help him develop and use the tools he needs to manage challenges and life with ADHD. It is exciting to see research confirming that parent training helps parents not only manage better, but decrease their own stress levels and increase their self-esteem.
The specific interventions that will work best for you child will vary depending on what’s happening behaviorally, but many kids with ADHD are successful with a whole range of support – and with parents who are empowered and confident. So, can we help your “ADD” kid? We can help you help your kid!