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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Special Needs Homeschooling
Learning Disabilities

Homeschooling with Attentional Disorders
Including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and
Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Children, by nature, have shorter attention spans than adults, but when
a child has an unusually hard time paying attention, listening carefully,
and  concentrating on one thing at a time... parents and teachers may
suspect an attentional disorder.  If the child is also extremely active,
hyperactivity may be suggested, too.  

Many parents and physicians worry that attentional disorders are
diagnosed too often.  They worry that natural differences in maturity and
learning styles may account for some of the inattentiveness seen in
young children, especially in a school setting.  Parents have also seen
bright youngsters accused of inattention when, actually, they are already
familiar with what is being taught in the classroom.  For instance, a child
who already knows his letters, will not be interested in activities designed
to teach the ABCs.

When children are truly unable to use their skills of attention effectively,  
even when faced with topics and activities that are interesting to them,
they may be diagnosed with ADD or AD/HD.   Research shows that the
distractability, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity are caused by a
neurobiochemical imbalance, that can be treated with medications.  
Many homechooling parents find that they can reduce or eliminate
medications by tailoring their homeschool approach to work with their
child's learning style and meet need for short lessons.   

There is some overlap in symptoms between ADD/ADHD and other
disorders.  Sometimes those diagnosed with attentional disorders ar
later found to have sensory precessing disorders, executive dysfunction,
or auditory processing disorders, or asperger's syndrome.  

Here are some resources for learning more about attentional disorders:

What is ADHD"? -- from Kids Health

ADHD Basics -- from the LD Online website

Attention and Motivation from The Mis-Labeled Child website

ADHD Primer for Parents Part I: Executive Functions NOT
inattention as the defining trait by Susan Crum, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

The Source for ADHD by Gail Richardson for LinguiSystems, "Clear up
the confusion, organize the information, and learn effective testing and
treatment approaches for students with ADD/ADHD" (more theoretical
than practical).

Unschooling with ADD  by Kathy Ward

Bored? by Anna Gosline -- interesting research on the causes of
boredom in individuals... and a link between attentional deficit and
susceptibility to boredom

ADD Misconceptions and Mis-Diagnosis -- The Other Side of ADD
by Teresa Gallagher of Born to Explore

The Mislabeled Child -- an introduction to the book by Drs. Fernette
and Brock Eide, which discusses the need to re-examine how we
diagnose and treat learning and behavioral differences, including ADHD
and Austim Spectrum disorders, and suggests a move toward
experience-based therapy to help the brain re-train and re-wire itself.

Does your child have a disorder... or is he or she "gifted"? -- an
excerpt from a book by James T. Webb, "Misdiagnosis and Dual
Diagnosis of Gifted Children"  

Excess Teacher Talk Swamps Children -- by Linda Doherty,
education editor of the Sydney Morning Herald

Ten Tips for Teaching Highly Distractible Children by Carol Barnier
-- a homeschooling mom, author, and speaker discusses how to
homeschool fidgety, distractibel children (*with or without* an ADHD

Born To Explore -- homeschooling mom, Teresa, has gathered
together articles and research about possible causes of hyperactivity
and inattentiveness (other than neurological defects)

Homeschooling Special Needs Kidz -- a Yahoo! group for parents
homeschooling children with any ADD/ADHD or any special need

AbleChild: Parents for Label and Drug Free Education -- online
support group for parents of public schooled and homeschooled kids

ADHD_DrugFree -- for families who are using alternative methods or
seeking information regarding alternative treatments or behavior
modification tools for ADHD

Get Organized Without Losing It by Janet S. Fox -- humorous book
written for kids in upper elementary to middle school

The Organized Student: Teaching Children the Skills for Success
in School and Beyond by Donna Goldberg -- strategies and tips to
help parents help their kids organize their lives

Related Issues:

Is Your Child Gifted?

ADD/ADHD in the Gifted Child

Sensory Processing Disorders

Executive Dysfunction

Auditory Processing Disorders

Aspergers Syndrome