Deciphering Problems in the Classroom

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you have a child that acts out at school or simply has a difficult time paying attention, it could be the sign of an underlying medical condition. This is extremely common in the classroom and there are some basic strategies that you can take to help your child soar at school and home.

7-year-old Brice Clavin loves to read with his mom, Kristy.  But sitting still and paying attention has not always been that easy for Brice.  "He was just being really talkative and moving, squirmy," she says, "just hyper."

After two years of Brice continuing to be inattentive and hyper, Kristy decided to see a pediatrician.  "He's been in school long enough to know the rules and he still kind of squirmy and movey, kind of talked a lot," says Kristy, "I figured then that we should see someone."

Deciphering between a behavioral problem and an attention deficit disorder is something that can be difficult to diagnose in young children.  Dr. Anatole Karpovs with The Children's Clinic of Southwest Louisiana says, "It can be very subtle, the differences between the two and a lot of times it takes a little bit of detective work to find out where the actual problem is coming from."

Dr. Karpovs says two of the most common disorders that appear during childhood are attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  "ADD has primarily inattentive type symptoms," says Dr. Karpovs, "where a child might be excessively daydreaming to the point where it affects their function or they may have the inability really focus and pay attention to instructions."

With ADHD, the child tends to be fidgety, overreactive and impulsive. While medications are available to treat kids with an attention deficit disorder, some simple strategies can be taken to accommodate them.  "We became more structured and more routine at home," says Kristy, "and having a set time to do this and that seems to help."

Kristy has seen Brice improve both in and out of the classroom. He doesn't even mind the classroom work anymore.  Keep in mind that an attention disorder has nothing to do with intelligence or talent and early intervention is the best way to ensure that your child will not fall behind in the classroom.

*To learn more about conditions that affect your child's ability to regulate their behavior and attention, join Dr. Anatole Karpovs for a free seminar Thursday, March 26th at 6:00 P.M. at Lake Charles Memorial's Shearman Conference Center. Reservations are required, just call 477-8551 ext. 14 to make yours.