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ADD/ADHD

6 Common Myths About ADHD

By Amanda Morin

153Found this helpful

There are a lot of misconceptions about ADHD. 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.

153Found 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.”

A group of young students enthusiastically answering questions in class
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Myth #5: ADHD is overdiagnosed.

Fact: Studies show that ADHD is actually underdiagnosed in minority populations in the U.S. One reason ADHD might seem overdiagnosed to some people is that awareness of the disorder has been growing since the 1990s, when it became recognized under special education law as a condition that affects learning. There are also a lot of celebrities with ADHD who have brought ADHD into the public eye.

Teacher giving extra help to a high school student in class
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Myth #6: 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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Possible Causes of ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common childhood brain-based conditions. Researchers still don’t know the exact cause, but they do know that genes, differences in brain development and some outside factors like prenatal exposure to smoking might play a role. Find out more.

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

Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin

As a writer specializing in parenting and education, Amanda Morin draws on her experience as a teacher, early intervention specialist and mom to children with learning issues.

More by this author

Reviewed by Bob Cunningham, M.A., Ed.M. Dec 03, 2013 Dec 03, 2013

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