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  • Helping Hyperactive Kids

  • Johnny can't sit still. Susie doesn't follow directions. Timmy is hitting classmates during recess.

    How many parents hear these comments about their children? Frustrated families may wonder: Is it just misbehavior or could it be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

    ADHD Who's Who

    From presidents to rock stars, the following folks didn't let ADHD stand in the way of their success:
    • Agatha Christie

    • John F. Kennedy

    • Albert Einstein

    • Cher

    • F. Scott Fitzgerald

    • Dustin Hoffman

    • John Lennon

    • Walt Disney

    The answer is a double-edged sword. While it is applauded asthe diagnosis that finally explains the syndrome of perpetual distraction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also criticized as a "label" for overactive children.

    The key to coping with ADHD is educating parents and school officials and training health professionals to recognize and treat it appropriately, says Richard Smith, MD, outpatient clinical director for child and family psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital. "This is the most studied child psychiatric disorder and is certainly the most widely discussed."

    What is it?

    ADHD is a brain disorder that alters a child's ability to filter and process information. Sounds, images and thoughts whirl in their heads. Boredom sets in easily, making it difficult to complete a task.

    These children don't realize that others do not think as they do. They only know that they often feel out of place or different. More common in boys than girls, ADHD affects as many as 2 million children-that's about one child in every classroom in America.

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