17 A.D.D. Facts to Know
1. Around two million school-aged children in the U.S. (at least 5 percent) are thought to have A.D.D. or A.D.H.D.
2. Boys diagnosed with A.D.H.D. outnumber girls by a ratio of 3:1; the overall incidence of A.D.D. without hyperactivity is similar in both genders. In the younger years, however, both A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. are diagnosed more frequently in males. By adolescence, there is gender equality in these diagnoses.
3. The genetic component far outweighs the environmental component with A.D.D. Environment influences how severe and persistent the inherited A.D.D. traits will be, but does not produce them.
4. One large study found that 25 percent of the first-degree relatives of children with A.D.H.D. had the problem.
5. If one identical twin has A.D.D., there is an 80 to 90 percent chance that the other twin will also have A.D.D.
6. A.D.D. is most often suspected or diagnosed after school entry, at around six or seven years of age. Children with A.D.D. may be fine in a play-based program, but have trouble sitting still and working independently in first or second grade.
7. The diagnosis of A.D.D. is not based on laboratory tests. It’s based on observations of parents, teachers, and A.D.D. professionals.
8. Children usually do not grow out of A.D.D., though there is less hyperactivity after puberty. Unrecognized and unmanaged, people with A.D.D. are at risk for developing debilitating social and academic problems.
9. If unrecognized and untreated (around 30 to 50 percent), children with A.D.D. are at risk of having severe school difficulties that may result in being placed in a special education classroom, repeating a grade, dropping out, or being expelled.
10. If unrecognized and unmanaged, 20 to 30 percent of these children may have problems with the law.
11. Research has shown that some children with A.D.D. show different brain wave patterns, which supports the view that in some children A.D.D. has a neurobiological basis. It may, with further research, become possible to identify subtypes of A.D.D. from the EEG (brain wave) profile.
12. Children diagnosed with A.D.D. should never be treated with drugs only. An effective management package must include techniques to improve their behavior and learning skills.
13. In 1995 1.5 million children in the United States (2.8 percent of school children) between the ages of five to eighteen years were being treated with Ritalin. From 1990 to 1995 the number of children on A.D.D. drugs tripled in the United States. In Canada between 1990 and 1995, the use of Ritalin increased three to four times according to a 1996 publication by Health Canada.
14. According to one survey the driving records of people with an A.D.D. diagnosis showed that they received more speeding tickets and had four times as many accidents in which someone was injured. However, when their knowledge of driving was compared to a control group, there was no difference.
15. Divorce is twice as common in families where a child has A.D.D.
16. In 1990, in a monthly survey of 2,400 practicing physicians, there were two million patient visits associated with the diagnosis of A.D.D. By 1994 this number had increased to 4.7 million. Approximately 90 percent of these patient visits resulted in a prescription for drug therapy.
17. If recognized and managed, most children with A.D.D. can be taught to use their differences to their advantage. They can show creative accomplishments, and be a credit to themselves, their family, and society.