Five year old Danny is in kindergarten. It is playtime and he hops from chair to chair, swinging his arms and legs restlessly, and then begins to fiddle with the light switches, turning the lights on and off again to everyone's annoyance--all the while talking nonstop. When his teacher encourages him to join a group of other children busy in the playroom, Danny interrupts a game that was already in progress and takes over, causing the other children to complain of his bossiness and drift away to other activities. Even when Danny has the toys to himself, he fidgets aimlessly with them and seems unable to entertain himself quietly. To many, this may seem like a problem; and it is. Danny most likely suffers from what is called Attention Deficit Disorder. Recent controversy has erupted as to whether Attention Deficit Disorder in fact deserves the title of "disorder." Some people, like Thomas Armstrong, a psychologist and educator, believe Attention Deficit Disorder is merely a myth; "...a dumping ground for a heterogeneous group of kids who are hyperactive or inattentive for a number of reasons including underlying anxiety, depression, and stresses in their families, schools, and in our culture." (Armstrong 15) However, he and those who question the validity of Attention Deficit Disorder are mistaken. Attention Deficit Disorder is in fact a disorder because it is recognized as such in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition), it is treatable through prescription medication and therapy and if left untreated inhibits one from functioning properly in society. Before delving into the ways in which Attention Deficit Disorder matches the criteria established for what a disorder is, it is important to first understand the disorder and have some background information on it. The symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD for short) exist on a continuum. Everybody has some of these symptoms some of the time. However, individuals with ADD have more of these symptoms more of the time and to the point that it interferes with their ability to function normally in academics work and social settings, and to reach their potential. People with ADD are often noted for their inconsistencies. One day they can "do it," and the next they cannot. They can have difficulty remembering simple things yet have "steel trap" memories for complex issues. To avoid disappointment, frustration, and discouragement, do not expect their highest level of competence to be the standard. It is an unrealistic expectation of a person with ADD. What is normal is that they will be inconsistent. Typically, they have problems with following through on instructions, paying attention appropriately to what they need to attend to, seem not to listen, be disorganized, have poor handwriting, miss details, have trouble starting tasks or with tasks that require planning or long-term effort, appear to be easily distracted, or forgetful. In addition, some people with ADD can be fidgety, verbally impulsive, unable to wait their turn, and act on impulse regardless of consequences. However, it is important to remember -- not all people with ADD have all of these difficulties, or all of the time. Due to the fact that society has traditionally thought of a person with ADD as being "hyper," many children who have ADD with no hyperactivity are not being identified or treated. Individuals with ADD without hyperactivity are sometimes thought of as daydreamers or "absent-minded professors." The non-hyperactive children with ADD most often seem to be girls (though girls can have ADD with hyperactivity, and boys can have ADD without hyperactivity). Additionally, because of the ability of an individual with ADD to over-focus, or "hyper-focus" on something that is of great interest or highly stimulating, many untrained observers assume that this ability to concentrate negates the possibility of ADD being a concern....
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