What is Attention Deficit Disorder?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) are two of the most common neurological disorders diagnosed in children and teens.

ADD is characterized by the person's brain not being able to correctly regulate attention. This makes it hard to control impulses or complete a task that is perceived as routine or boring, while able to focus on a task found stimulating, such as a video game.

ADD is a developmental disorder that is present in up to 7.8 percent of children and about 4 percent of adults.

Is ADD in Children Real?

Selected Attention Disorder is a more appropriate name for this condition, since a person might have the ability to pay plenty of attention to things they find interesting, but lack the ability to motivate themselves to complete a task they consider boring.

For example, a child might have the ability to pay attention to playing the XBox for hours, yet be unable to complete two pages of homework. Another might be able to read an interesting novel cover to cover. This often causes confusion for the parents and caregivers, believing that their child is not trying hard enough, is lazy, spacey, or just does not pay attention.

It is understandable that a mother who sees her child playing XBox or other "fun" computer games believes that her child has plenty of attention and for some people to believe that ADD is nothing more than a discipline issue.

But ADD is a very real neurological condition, with very real brain behavior and brain wave patterns strongly correlating with the above symptoms.

Visit our ADD / ADHD FAQ section for further information.

Who Can Have ADD/ADHD?

Can a Calm Child Have ADD?

If you look only for symptoms such as fidgeting, excessive running, jumping, climbing, or difficulty staying seated, you may miss a majority of ADD cases without hyperactivity. Only 25 percent of people show symptoms of hyperactivity (ADHD). Also, while impulse control - acting without thinking, answering questions before they are finished being asked, speaking out of turn, etc. - is a major factor often seen in ADD cases, it is not necessary for a diagnosis of ADD.

Not sure if your child has ADD or ADHD? View our complete ADD symptoms checklist at the bottom of the page to get a sense if your child may have ADD or ADHD. Even better, request an appointment with us at one of our offices, to see if our thorough and scientifically validated evaluation is the right first step for improving your child's academic performance. Read on if you'd like to find out more about ADD and ADHD, and how we treat it.

Can Someone Bright Have ADD?

Although people with ADD often score higher than average on IQ tests, they have a hard time staying on task, completing homework, keeping work areas organized, and paying attention to instructions. They also may have low tolerance levels and become bored easily.

Can a Focused Child Have ADD?

Some people with ADD tend to be over­focused. As a result, they cannot shift from task to task. Plus, some people with ADD argue a lot (46 percent), have rapid mood swings (16 percent), and suffer from depression and anxiety (more than 60 percent).

Visit our ADD / ADHD FAQ section for further information.

ADD / ADHD Diagnosis Techniques | Brain Wellness Center

ADD / ADHD Diagnosis Techniques

Although scientific evidence shows that ADD / ADHD is based on neurological causes, symptoms are also strongly influenced by a wide range of other factors. That is why at the Attention and Achievement Center, we examine all related areas, including family and medical history, physical and emotional development, social skills and self esteem, prior and/or current environmental stressors, and sleep issues.

Wrong Diagnosis of ADD/ADHD

While it's important to correctly diagnose a child with an attention deficit disorder, it's equally important to not give a misdiagnosis of ADD to a child as well. There are other neurological disorders that can impair a child's ability to learn that on the surface appear to be ADD, but in fact require a different solution. Learn more about how we can evaluate your child to determine the correct diagnosis and solution.

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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Screening and Evaluations

Brain Wellness Center, with five convenient Bay Area locations, can help correctly screen your child for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Equally important, we can also help determine if your child does not have ADHD/ADD. Cognitive skills are the basic learning building blocks and it is extremely important to evaluate cognitive skills as part of an Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) test. We are the only organization in Northern California that uses a complete array of neuro-psychological and psycho-educational tests and then compares them to the same international, standardized database of normed neuro-psychological test batteries often used by pharmaceutical companies.  By comparing your child’s brain activity with normative databases, we are able to evaluate and identify patterns typically seen with conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

View our ADD symptoms checklist to get a sense if your child should be tested for ADHD/ADD. If 5 or more items from the checklist below apply to your child, he/she should be evaluated by a professional for possible Attention Deficit Disorder. Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months.

General Symptoms

  •  Short attention span. Loses interest quickly.
  •  Difficulty completing tasks which are perceived as un-stimulating.
  •  Difficulty following instructions.
  •  Makes a lot of effort to complete task on time but often does not succeed.
  •  Makes careless mistake(s) in work. Fails to double check work.
  •  Easily distracted from task.
  •  Unorganized. Backpack, class binder or desk is often messy.
  •  Loses or misplaces homework, assignments, toys or clothing often.
  •  Poor short-term memory. Often forgets what has just been heard or read.
  •  Does not get along with other kids very well. Difficulty maintaining relationships.
  •  Has a strong sense of smell or touch. Bothered by clothing tags.
  •  Likes highly stimulating games or events.
  •  Shy, difficulty maintaining eye contact.
  •  Easily over stimulated. Hard to calm down once over-excited.
  •  Has difficulty shifting from one activity to another.
  •  Difficulty following the rules of the game.
  •  Easily frustrated.
  •  High level of irritability.
  •  Emotional reactions often younger than age.
  •  Needs to be center of attention. Class clown.
  •  Underachiever relative to ability.
  •  Daydreams a lot.
  •  Requires constant supervision or handholding.
  •  Enthusiastic starter and poor finisher.
  •  Acts before thinking.
  •  Poor planning ability.
  •  Difficulty waiting turn in group situations.
  •  Excessively shifts from one activity to another.
  •  Low pain threshold.
  •  Poor handwriting.


Hyperactivity Symptoms

  •  Fidgetiness. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  •  Always on the go as if driven by a motor.
  •  Seems in a hurry a lot. Often late.
  •  Excessively talks.
  •  Excessive running, jumping, climbing.
  •  Difficulty staying seated when required (e.g., at mealtime, in the classroom).
  •  Talks out of turn, interrupts others.
  •  Has difficulty engaging in leisure activity quietly.
  •  Blurt out answers before questions are completed.
  •  Sleep walking or talking.
  •  Diminished need for sleep.
  •  Restless sleep. Kicks off covers, moves around constantly.
  •  Pushes, shoves, kicks, bites other kids.
  •  Has rages, hair trigger anger.

  Disclaimer:  Our treatments can improve brain function but are not a cure. Results vary for different individuals. Each person's experience is unique, and what works for one patient may not work for another.       Statistical data doesn't apply to individual patients, as no treatment is effective for 100% of patients.

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