LIVING WITH EPILEPSY/SCHOOL: LEARNING AND BEHAVIOR – ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

A cause that has received much attention is a condition called “organic hyperactivity” or more recently “ADD,” Attention Deficit Disorder. Although this condition is common, we know surprisingly little about its source. It may or may not be associated with physical hyperactivity. ADD is more common (or more easily recognized) in boys, where over-activity is a more common accompanying symptom and more likely to draw attention to the child. Attention Deficit Disorders are not uncommon in children during the early school years; they are perhaps even more common in children with epilepsy. They are also frequently associated with “immaturity” of the nervous system and with the learning disorders described above.
While its cause is unknown, we like to think of ADD as a “filtering” problem. Everyone is constantly bombarded by multiple different stimuli. As you are reading this chapter there may be children playing in the room, the TV may be playing, the clock ticking, and someone else talking. And yet you are able to filter all of these other stimuli out and concentrate, pay attention to what you are reading. We do not know exactly how this filtering takes place, but it seems to be partly a learned skill and partly a result of maturity of the nervous system. Infants and young children are easily distracted by the many stimuli around them; they have difficulty paying attention (except to TV). As they get older, they can attend better. Some children mature faster in this respect than others. Some have far more difficulty paying attention than others and are diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorders when the problem interferes with their work in school.
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LIVING WITH EPILEPSY/SCHOOL: LEARNING AND BEHAVIOR – ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDERA cause that has received much attention is a condition called “organic hyperactivity” or more recently “ADD,” Attention Deficit Disorder. Although this condition is common, we know surprisingly little about its source. It may or may not be associated with physical hyperactivity. ADD is more common (or more easily recognized) in boys, where over-activity is a more common accompanying symptom and more likely to draw attention to the child. Attention Deficit Disorders are not uncommon in children during the early school years; they are perhaps even more common in children with epilepsy. They are also frequently associated with “immaturity” of the nervous system and with the learning disorders described above.While its cause is unknown, we like to think of ADD as a “filtering” problem. Everyone is constantly bombarded by multiple different stimuli. As you are reading this chapter there may be children playing in the room, the TV may be playing, the clock ticking, and someone else talking. And yet you are able to filter all of these other stimuli out and concentrate, pay attention to what you are reading. We do not know exactly how this filtering takes place, but it seems to be partly a learned skill and partly a result of maturity of the nervous system. Infants and young children are easily distracted by the many stimuli around them; they have difficulty paying attention (except to TV). As they get older, they can attend better. Some children mature faster in this respect than others. Some have far more difficulty paying attention than others and are diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorders when the problem interferes with their work in school.*246\208\8*

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