Children Learning Disability Test - by Dr. Ronand Cantwell M.D.

ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (D.S.M.) Version IV contains a list of symptoms of ADD and ADHD. They include inattention, easy distractibility, impulsivity, difficulty  remaining on task, difficulty completing work, and frequently with hyperactivity.

Dr. Cantwell’s two-year research in Miami public schools, where he tested every student in kindergarten student and found that 19.5% of students met the DSM criteria for a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD.

ADD is a lifelong neurological syndrome that appears to be associated with an imbalance of the neurotransmitter chemicals Dopamine and Norepinephrine that regulate how the brain receives, processes, retains, and utilizes information. This chemical imbalance impairs the efficiency of many brain functions, and can seriously affect the child’s learning and behavior control.

Dr. Cantwell’s extensive clinical experience in treating hundreds of ADD children suggests that there is a much wider spectrum of symptoms and modes of presentation than DSM-IV suggests. He has observed many other co-existing features such as forgetfulness, inability to sit still for very long, excessive and often inappropriate talking, and lack of control over inappropriate behavior. Further, DSM-IV does not address the association between ADD and Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD).

There are two main types of Attention Deficit Disorder:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity (ADD)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD)

Both types can co-exist with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). Dr. Cantwell’s research has shown that 68% of ADHD children also have SLD. This suggests that ADHD and SLD may actually be variants of the same neurological condition. Behavioral difficulties are more prevalent in ADD with Hyperactivity than without Hyperactivity. Such conduct difficulties can create a disciplinary problem, especially in the confined space of a classroom. Interpersonal social relationships may be impaired in ADHD children. These children may have little insight into the results of their actions or decisions, and they do not readily learn from the adverse results of previous poorly made decisions. There may also be difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues in other children and adults, and this may further impair the child’s social skills.

The management of ADHD ideally should be multidisciplinary, preferably with the pediatrician as the team leader. This is because specific medication is frequently necessary to improve both learning and classroom behavior. The pediatrician may use a teacher questionnaire to measure valuable information about a child’s ability to learn, and to help determine if learning and/or behavior is likely to improve with specific medication. The results are later compared to the same information obtained a month after starting the medication. Frequently, a dramatic improvement is evident in the second questionnaire, showing the beneficial effects of such medication.