Children who have attention disorders display these signs

Published 6:06 am Sunday, October 6, 2013

Column: Families First, by Maryanne Law

Question: Are there observable signs that let parents know that their children may be challenged with ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Maryanne Law

Maryanne Law

Answer: Kirk Martin, psychologist and author of Celebrate Calm resources, has worked with thousands of children and uses this quiz to help parents recognize the challenges they and their children are facing because of ADD and ADHD, Asperger’s, anxiety disorders or sensory processing issues.

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Here is the descriptive list of traits: 1) has a big heart, but sabotages friendships, 2) controls others, acts bossy and has to prove his point, 3) relates well to adults and younger children, but struggles socially with peers; acts silly and immature, 4) gets a thrill from pushing your buttons and arguing like an attorney, 5) melts down over unexpected changes, disappointments and when little things go wrong, 6) is disorganized, forgetful and impulsive, 7) appears unmotivated and underperforms academically, 8) becomes frustrated getting thoughts from her head to paper while writing, 9) constantly moves, fidgets, makes noises or chews on things, 10) plays video games for hours, but can’t focus on work for 10 minutes, 11) likes to cuddle, wrestle or be wrapped in blankets, 12) lives in fear of being alone or in the dark, insisting that you lie down with him or her at bedtime, 13) is sensitive to touch, noise, sight, aromas or clothes; wears the same clothes repeatedly, 14) procrastinates with homework, but hyper-focuses on personal projects, 15) makes family outings and playing board games challenging, 16) shows obsessive-compulsive tendencies, needs things to be “just so,” 17) has difficulty sleeping, craves simple carbohydrates and won’t eat well, 18) appears not to be listening, but remembers what you say weeks later, 19) says, “I’m bored!” or “I’m stupid” often, 20) gets angry, impatient or interrupts when you talk, 21) gets along great with one parent, but struggles when both are around, 22) quits or cheats at games, lies and blames others.

If many of these traits are all too familiar to you, you deserve support in nurturing your child’s gifts and overcoming challenges without crushing his or her spirit. There are supportive professionals and parents who understand.

To talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child-raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 1-877-434-9528. Visit the Parenting Resource Center Specialty Library at First Street and 1st Avenue SE, Austin. Ask about a Parent2Parent mentor. Check out


Maryanne Law is the executive director of the Parenting Resource Center in Austin.