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Attentional / Hyperactivity Problems



Kids with attention and hyperactivity problems often have a hard time paying attention, sitting still, or staying focused at home, in school and in social settings. Though it is common to have such difficulties, some youth encounter even greater challenges than their classmates or peers in these areas.

There are three types of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

  • The mostly hyperactive-impulsive type
  • The mostly inattentive type
  • The type that is both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive

Exact causes of these disorders are still not known, but much of the research suggests that ADHD runs in families. If you think your child might have symptoms of AD/HD, it is important that you take him/her to a medical doctor or psychologist. Your child’s doctor will probably perform an evaluation, which might include interviews and surveys with you and your child, questionnaires for your child’s teachers, and some observations of your child’s normal behaviors.

Fortunately, researchers have developed safe and effective treatments for youth with ADHD. As always, treatment is most effective when it begins early and is tailored to the specific needs of the child.



ADHD symptoms are often broken down into two different types: inattentive and impulsive/hyperactive. Your child may have symptoms from only one or both of the types:

Youth with the inattentive type of ADHD tend to:

  • Have trouble paying attention to details
  • Have trouble focusing
  • “Jump” between incomplete tasks
  • Have difficulty with organization
  • Lose important things

Youth with the impulsivity/hyperactivity type of ADHD tend to:

  • Have difficulty staying seated
  • Frequently fidget
  • Act before thinking
  • Talk out of turn
  • Have difficulty waiting in line



  • About 3-7% of school-aged children and 4% of adults have ADHD
  • About 25% of youth served by the Hawaii Department of Health has a diagnosis of ADHD
  • ADHD is usually diagnosed before age 7
  • Boys are 4 times more likely to have ADHD than girls
  • Symptoms of ADHD frequently become less severe during the late teen years and in young adulthood



  • What should you do if you suspect your child has ADHD? Dr. William Pelham, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Florida International University and the Director of the Florida International University Center for Children and Families, provides parents with information to help choose treatment options for their children. He covers the ways that ADHD can be diagnosed, evidence-based treatments that help to normalize life for the child, and the role of parents, teachers, and peers in the treatment process. Please click here to watch the video.
  • There are a variety of different options when it comes to treating ADHD. So how does a parent know when it’s time for their child to receive medication? Dr. James Waxmonsky, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the Medical Director for the Center for Children and Families, outlines some of these options. He discusses different types of ADHD medication, the pros and cons of various medications, situations that medication would be the most effective in, and how a parent knows when it’s time to seek medication for their child’s ADHD. Please click here to watch the video.
  • Why should parents of children with ADHD receive behavior therapy? Dr. Greta Massetti, Associate Director for Science at the National Center on Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Beverly W. Funderburk, Professor of Research at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in the Department of Pediatrics, discuss why behavior therapy for parents of children with behavior problems may result in improvements with regards to helping their child’s needs. They cover the components and key objectives of effective behavior therapy for parents, positive parenting, and also provide examples of what behavioral parent training looks like. Please click here to access the webinar.


See What Works:

Tangible Rewards
Stimulus Control

Self Verbalization
Problem Solving

Behavior Therapy plus Medication



Information for this site has been obtained from the following resources: