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Are You Sure It’s ADHD?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

Ever hear the saying, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar?” Ever hear the saying, “Sometimes a cigar is NOT just a cigar?” Which one is it?

Case in point: Everyone is telling you that your child is not doing well in school and the reason must be ADHD.

ADHD is known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are several varieties of the disorder. For example, a child may have ADD(Attention Deficit Disorder)either with or without hyperactivity. In ADHD, impulse control may or may not be the main problem. However, in all cases, there is an inability to concentrate or focus attention. This has a very detrimental impact on reading with comprehension and on learning in all subject areas. There is a tendency to view children with learning problems as having ADHD. Aside from the fact that there are other learning disabilities that may be more relevant to a particular child, there is also a chance that something else is at the root of the problem.

Recent developments, and they are controversial, report that for some children, what looks like ADD is really a problem with vision. There are a number of optometrists who now believe that some children who are learning disabled or diagnosed with ADHD may really have difficulty with their eyes working in coordination with one another. According to these optometrists, the inability of each of the eyes to work in coordination with one another affects the development of the perceptual motor skills necessary for learning to read and complete other academic tasks. They have developed a vision therapy that helps kids overcome some of these problems. Again, many in the medical establishment are cautious or dismissive of this treatment.

It is important to take note of the fact that because some children with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorders have vision problems, does not mean that this is true of all children with these problems. The correct diagnosis and treatment is what is most important. Having said that, it seems to me that there is no harm in looking into this possibility if you suspect ADHD.

Please be aware that the Academy of Pediatricians is very skeptical about vision being the cause of ADHD. In other words, while vision problems can interfere with learning for some children, it does not mean that this is true for all kids.

So, is a cigar a cigar or not? The fact is that proper testing must be used to determine what is and is not ADD, another learning problem or vision problems.

Always consult your pediatrician and get the proper referrals for evaluation and appropriate treatment. Specifically, there are doctors who specialize in vision and the treatment of children whose learning problems result from visual problems.

Your comments are welcome.

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