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ADD/ADHD

5 Common Myths About ADHD

By Amanda Morin

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There are a lot of misconceptions about ADHD (also known as ADD). This can make it hard to know what’s true and how best to support your child. Here we separate myth from fact to help you feel more confident in your ADHD knowledge.

637Found this helpful
Brother and sister playing in the park
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Myth #1: ADHD isn’t a real medical condition.

Fact: The National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Psychiatric Association all recognize ADHD as a medical condition. Research shows that it runs in families, meaning it might be genetic. If your child has ADHD, you know how real it is and how big an impact it can have on everyday living.

Grade school boy swinging on the playground outdoors
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Myth #2: All kids with ADHD are hyperactive.

Fact: Not all kids with ADHD are hyperactive. There are three types of ADHD, and one of them—ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type (also known as ADD)—doesn’t have an impact on activity levels. Kids with this type of ADHD may appear “daydreamy” or off in their own world.

Parent reading to her young child at home
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Myth #3: ADHD is the result of bad parenting.

Fact: People who don’t know your family, or much about ADHD, may attribute your child’s behavior to a lack of discipline. They don’t realize that the inappropriate comments or constant fidgeting are signs of a medical condition, not of bad parenting.

Young girl playing ball with her mother outside
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Myth #4: Only boys have ADHD.

Fact: While it’s true boys are more than twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with ADHD, that doesn’t mean girls don’t have ADHD. They’re just more likely to be overlooked and remain undiagnosed. Attention issues can look different in boys than in girls. Girls tend to be less disruptive in class and may seem “daydreamy.”

Teacher giving extra help to a high school student in class
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Myth #5: Kids with ADHD will outgrow it.

Fact: ADHD is a lifelong condition. The symptoms may change as your child gets older and learns ways to manage them, but that’s not the same as outgrowing them. Most kids with ADHD will continue to have symptoms throughout adolescence and adulthood.

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5 Types of Fun Fidgets for Kids With ADHD

Fidgets can help some kids with ADHD focus better. They’re not “one size fits all,” however. Different types of fidgets can meet different sensory needs. You can see which work best for your child, and then talk to the teacher about using them in class.

Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Child’s Focus

Getting a child with ADHD to concentrate can be a real challenge. Here are some easy and fun strategies to help your child improve his ability to focus.

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Bob Cunningham

Bob Cunningham, Ed.M., serves as advisor-in-residence on learning and attention issues for Understood.

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