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Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder was first described in 1903. It is characterized by poor attention, impulsivity, inability to focus and concentrate, and constantly moving, squirming, and fidgeting if the hyperactivity component is there. Although genetics seem to be part of the equation, ADD is difficult to diagnose. The process is quite lengthy starting with a pediatrician's evaluation, teachers' evaluations, referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist, and continual monitoring of medication if the parent chooses to go that route to control symptoms. The actual ADD can create havoc for a student as the "executive function" which means being able to organize thinking, plan for how to achieve a goal, or to make a reasoned decision, most students have to help them keep focused and finish assignments , but doesn't seem to exist for ADD students. They must find other ways to help stay focused such as using squeezy balls while they listen, sometimes standing during a class to help with the hyperactivity, and finding other methods to work with their symptoms. The student needs to know about this disorder as it can affect a student's social life; indeed, many of the inmates behind bars suffer from ADD but don't realize it.
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