Evolving research on attention deficit disorders is going beyond the typical hyperactive, disruptive child to find ways to better identify the quietly drifting student, as new screening tools and cognitive therapies seek to help both types of students.
Children with attention deficit disorders are impulsive, and often exhibit developmental delays in balance, motor control, emotional regulation, and behavior. They frequently show difficulty concentrating, sitting still in class, and otherwise acting in age-appropriate ways.
Known formally as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, the condition affects 5 percent to 8 percent of American children of both sexes, making it one of the most common childhood disorders. So why are boys diagnosed three times as often as girls? The answer, in part, is that experts find girls with attention deficits are more likely to be considered inattentive rather than hyperactive, leading to fewer of the classroom disruptions that can trigger a teacher referral.
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