Identifying Attention Deficit

Dear Teacher

When children have trouble focusing in school and are also disorganized, many teachers and parents jump to the conclusion that a child has an attention-deficit disorder (ADD). When a student is also overly active and disruptive, the child’s deficit disorder morphs to attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

But diagnosing ADD or ADHD is not an exact science. There are no biological tests. Instead, the traits that make up ADD or ADHD are personality characteristics. When eight or more of the following statements accurately describe a child prior to age 7, there may be a reason to suspect ADD or ADHD, and you should talk to your child’s doctor.

  1. Fidgets, squirms, or seems restless.
  2. Has difficulty remaining seated.
  3. Is easily distracted.    
  4. Has difficulty awaiting his or her turn.
  5. Blurts out answers.
  6. Has difficulty following instructions.
  7. Has difficulty sustaining attention.
  8. Shifts from one uncompleted task to another.
  9. Has difficulty playing quietly.
  10. Talks excessively.
  11. Interrupts or intrudes on others.
  12. Does not seem to listen.
  13. Often loses things necessary for tasks.
  14. Frequently engages in dangerous actions.

Remember, ADD and ADHD are often hereditary. So, when examining this list, consider if you or other family members have eight or more of these traits.

For more information, go to and enter the keyword ADD or ADHD. Also, visit the National Attention Deficit Organization (, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (, and Additude magazine (additudemagcom). If your child is diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, your school should be able to provide the support needed to improve studies.




photograph © Paul Hakimata |

Need Homework Help?

Memphis Public Library offers free assistance for grades 3-5

With kids back in school, homework is starting to pile up. If your child needs help understanding work in order to finish assignments, you’re in luck. Memphis Public Library & Information Center (MPLIC) is providing assistance through its Homework Coaching Centers. Every Tuesday and Thursday, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., students in grades 3 to 5 can receive help with English, grammar, writing, and math homework.

“Through research we found while there are tutoring opportunities to take advantage of, there are few resources nationally for help with homework and practically none locally,” notes Stephanie White, director of communications.

The library’s volunteer coaches are given special training and come from a variety of backgrounds. Rather than tutoring to sharpen skills, volunteers will focus on helping each student leave with a completed assignment.White says they’ve sent notices to school principals to help spread the word about this free service.

Homework Coaching Centers are currently located at the Frayser, Hollywood, Parkway Village, and Whitehaven branch libraries as well as the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library Children’s Department. • For information, call 415-2700.

— Meena Viswanathan


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