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Q: Dear Dr. Sylvia, I have a few questions about language processing disorder. My son, who is six and in first grade, had problems learning his ABC's and 123's in kindergarten. By the end of the year though, he was progressing very well. There was still concern with giving him simple directions and having him follow through. He gives me a blank look when I tell him to do something. He just doesn't seem to comprehend completely. He's very healthy and very active.

Parents may be baffled when their capable children have a great deal of difficulty learning particular skills in school. Sometimes they may suspect the difficulty is related to their children not working hard enough, and of course, sometimes they are correct in those observations. Children who are not learning well because of lack of effort are underachieving.

Dear Dr. Sylvia, My son is repeating kindergarten and was tested last year for LD (results were normal). He is doing poorly, and the school is recommending that testing be repeated. I don't understand why they are testing a second time. - Confused Mother Dear Confused Mother, When children do poorly in kindergarten, there is good reason for them to be tested for learning disabilities (LD). Furthermore, it is reasonable to test them a second time a year later.

At a recent national convention on ADHD, one speaker suggested "good science" argues that ADHD is entirely a pathological condition, a genetic illness, and that there is no value whatsoever in a person "having ADHD." Anybody who may seek to offer hope to ADHD children or parents was accused of telling "stories," the citation again being "good science." The speaker suggested that ADHD is purely a genetic defect; the neo-Darwinist theory being that sometimes genetic problems are simply "weaknesses in the evolution.

Q Dear Dr. Sylvia, While visiting my 29-year-old son recently, I realized that he may have ADD. He still has difficulty paying attention when someone is talking, his eyes drift around the room, and he often interrupts the person who is speaking, asking questions completely off the subject. When he was in kindergarten, his teacher told me that he daydreamed and didn't pay attention in class. His second-grade teacher told me I should get my son drum lessons or tap dancing classes because he couldn't sit still. All throughout his growing years, he watched a lot of TV, played with his Star Wars toys, and had difficulty making friends.

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AD(H)D (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has been a blessing for our family. We are better parents, all our children are successful in their own way, and we are able to be a therapeutic foster family. I sometimes wonder --if we didn't have AD(H)D, would we be so fortunate? There were the years of guilt, frustration, hopelessness, and many other emotions. My son, Ray, was difficult, moody (including drastic mood swings), very unhappy and by age six wanted to "make himself dead.

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