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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
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Do You Have ADHD?


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Do you find your mind wandering from tasks that are uninteresting or difficult?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Do you have a quick temper or short fuse?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Do you say things without speaking and regret them later?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Are you almost always on the go?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Is there a lot of “chatter” in your brain?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Even when sitting quietly, do you move your hands and feet?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Do your thoughts bounce like a pinball machine?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Do you have difficulty wrapping up the final details of a project, once the harder parts are completed?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
(a) never
(b) sometimes
(c) always

Mostly A’s

Even with this world’s frenetic pace, you are surprisingly subdued and relaxed. You follow through on your projects, are able to sustain attention, and listen calmly when people speak to you. Aside from helping you at work and in your personal life, these traits make it very unlikely that you would be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Mostly B’s

Like most people, you have trouble sitting still at times and will sometimes abandon a project before it is entirely finished because you lack the urge to follow through completely. Sometimes you have trouble keeping your thoughts and ideas organized. These characteristics put you at a slight risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), though only an expert can officially diagnose the disorder.

Mostly C’s

You often find yourself unable to follow through on the minutiae of daily life because there are so many other things that capture your attention. You don’t enjoy sitting still and frequently feel as if life would be easier if you could act less impulsively. These traits make daily life difficult and put you at risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), though only an expert can officially diagnose the disorder.

Facts about ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a common behavioral disorder that affects between 8-10% of school age children. Boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD. Children who have ADHD have trouble sitting still, focusing on one thing at one time, and attending to details. While their attention seems unfocused, it is multi-focused. Their mind takes in multiple stimuli at once, making it hard to engage in one activity for long periods of time. Dr. Richard Kingsley of KidsHealth explains, “Kids with ADHD act without thinking, are hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. They may understand what’s expected of them but have trouble following through because they can’t sit still, pay attention, or attend to details.”

ADHD is defined as a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination of the three.

Inattention symptoms:

* Fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
* Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play
* Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
* Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
* Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
* Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork)
* Often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities
* Easily distracted
* Often forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity symptoms:

* Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
* Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
* Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
* Difficulty playing quietly
* Often “on the go,” acts as if “driven by a motor,” talks excessively

Impulsivity symptoms:

* Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
* Difficulty waiting for a turn

Adult ADHD

Today, children are regularly diagnosed with ADHD. What most people don’t realize is that ADHD can be present in adults as well. ADHD does not suddenly appear in adults; rather it was present throughout childhood and likely went undiagnosed. Dr. Brian Doyle in his book, Understanding and Treating Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, explains that “When we examine the lives of adults who struggle and fail, repeatedly, sometimes we find symptom patterns like those of children with ADHD…Once they have a proper diagnosis and full treatment, adults with ADHD can change their lives profoundly.”

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks or completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social, vocational and academic problems. But, what are some common behaviors and problems associated with adult ADHD?

* Persistent lateness and forgetfulness
* Anxiety
* Low self-esteem
* Employment problems
* Difficulty controlling anger
* Impulsiveness
* Substance abuse or addiction
* Procrastination
* Chronic boredom
* Depression
* Relationship problems

Helping Kids Understand ADHD

Today, more children than ever are diagnosed with ADHD and the disorder is widely researched and accommodated in schools. However, a lot of children do not necessarily understand ADHD – whether they or their friend is the one suffering from the disorder. To that end, I wrote a children’s book about ADHD, My Friend, The Troublemaker, to help children better comprehend what is going on in the classroom with themselves or their classmates.

The book follows Nochum, originally dubbed “the troublemaker.” When Nochum calls out in class, cuts in line, and loses the place in his sefer, everyone assumes he is irresponsible and unmotivated. However, with the help of his teachers and parents, Nochum realizes that his scattered behavior results from ADHD. With a few adjustments and renewed understanding, Nochum transforms from troublemaker to focused friend and student.

If you or your child are suffering from ADHD, it’s not too late to get it under control and start enjoying life to its fullest. Just think about how much more you could accomplish if you learned how to channel all that energy into positive pursuits!

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@gmail.com.


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