Does my brother have ADD, or is he just annoying?
My brother is 11 and has a bad temper and is constantly talking or moving his hands or feet. He could possibly have ADD, because when you ask him nicely to stop dancing around the store or nudging into a salesperson's personal space, he keeps on doing what he was doing. I have tried gently telling my parents, but all they say is, "Sweetie, he's just not in as much of a rush to grow up as you are." I am not the only one who thinks he might have a problem, because I have confided in a good (adult) family friend and even our own grandma, and they both think so too. But my family wants to be hush-hush. What do you think?
Dear My Brother Might Have ADD,
You and I should not be the ones to determine whether your brother needs professional help. When school starts, his teachers can offer a clear-eyed view of whether he's a little restless or has an actual learning issue. It's tricky territory, however, and specialists don't always agree. Ritalin is overprescribed in this country, but for some kids, intervention and carefully-monitored medications can make all the difference. Tell your mom that what's best for your bro is still weighing on you but that you'll stop bugging her if you know she'll ask the pediatrician or school nurse or learning specialist for advice. They have a frame of reference that family members do not. Cut your bro some slack too. Most 11-year-old boys aren't exactly the model of maturity.
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