The question is understandable.

It may assume that some children diagnosed with ADHD may be misdiagnosed or that the condition may be much more complicated than the simple criteria we attach to it.

It doesn’t take much to be diagnosed with ADHD. Many licensed medical professionals can do so based on a simple interview.

However, the question - “If my child is ADHD, how come he (she) can concentrate on video games?” - betrays a subtle misunderstanding of the condition.

Briefly, a child who is diagnosed with ADHD, CAN truly suffer from the condition and STILL be able to focus for several hours on certain activities.

ADHD children may be able to play video games for long stretches of time or watch several movies at a time, only moving the muscles required to place popcorn in their mouths .

Notice that the activities that such children are able to focus on are completely engaging, involving visual & audio elements & are fast moving with frequent cutaways from scene to scene.

Unfortunately, society requires developing members to be able to learn & be productive under conditions that are deliberate, slow moving, require step by step thinking, more likely to involve reading rather than watching fast paced movies. Some of the activities may be termed “boring.”

Essentially, children & adults are asked to perform under conditions that resemble a traditional schoolroom more than situations that include multimedia presentations & tapping into the different styles of learning. The different styles could involve visual, physical, audio, sensory and on.

This is where truly ADHD children distinguish themselves from kids who can perform under less than totally engaging conditions.

Again, almost all children can attend to & perform under conditions that dovetail with their interests, & attention spans. It’s on activities that are “boring” that we see further differentiation between ADHD children & others.

So, what’s the point?

Understanding this point informs our interventions for children presenting ADHD as well as those not so doing.

Some implications

*Don’t blame the ADHD child for only attending under certain conditions. That’s what makes them ADHD.

*Include activities that match the ADHD child’s particular needs so that he has a chance of learning or performing well. We all need to learn in whatever manner we can take it in. We also all need to experience successes that will be the building blocks of future successes

* However, along with working with ADHD children in whatever manner they require, we also need to work on remedying problem areas. This is needed so that they could compete in the real world & not simply in the artificial settings that may be created in school or home.

For example, children who have problems focusing on reading could be encouraged to read in small snippets, gradually increasing snippets over weeks or months. Increasing time spent reading

Author's Bio: 

Salvator Giustra is a NYC Teaching Fellow, health researcher, clinical psychotherapist, computer scientist & SelfGrowth member.

He currently runs three websites that advance the idea that good health is based on simple, traditional, commonsense knowledge which research tends to support repeatedly.