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My question or questions concern my son who is now 15. He has had struggles his entire tenure as a student thus far. His teachers say that he is to often off of the task at hand. He tells me he has trouble concentrating at times. Having him sit by himself is very little help in terms of him not getting distracted. I had him tested four years ago for ADD and he doesn’t seem to be a ADHD candidate because he has no problem staying still, with the exception of his concentration problems. He gets good grades at times and then it seems at testing time he fails. Teaching methods attribute to some of it, but not all.

He is very disorganized and even if I take the time to get him set-up to be organized (i.e. notes), he often gets classes mixed up. This leaves him with a result of mixed-up paperwork that needs to be deciphered for determining which notebook it goes in. The doctor who gave him the test years ago said that the results were such that he didn’t think he was ADD or ADHD and that he would probably always be a high maintenance student. He is now a freshman struggling and I cant help but feel he is slipping through the cracks. He does not cause problems, although when he is off task and tries to socialize during class, it can cause additional distraction for his teachers. Please advise on where I should go from here.


Your son is fortunate to have a father who cares and is concerned. Your worries are appropriate. How would a 15-year-old reflect that he might have ADHD? First, he would have difficulties with activity level, ability to attend, or with impulsivity. For adolescents, we often also find problems with organization and with time planning. You describe him as distractible and inattentive. He is also disorganized.

The second step in establishing the diagnosis of ADHD is to show that the identified behaviors have been present since early childhood (chronic) and that they occur in most life situatiions (pervasive. I believe that you describe such a chronic and pervasive pattern. Finally, you need to show that these behaviors are having a significant impact on areas of his life — home, school, peers. The answer again is yes.

Based on your description, your son seems to have ADHD. I encourage you to see a physician who is knowledgeable about ADHD. If my impression is correct and he does have ADHD, treatment will make a significant difference.

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