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Child ADHD versus ADD

Assessment and Treatment

Technically, ADD is one of three subtypes of ADHD. The term ADD is still used by many parents and teachers. But since 1994, doctors have been calling it by its formal name: ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type. The other two subtypes are ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and ADHD, Combined Type, which involves both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms.

Symptoms of the inattentive type of ADHD may be less noticeable compared to symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Unfortunately, as a result, many individuals with the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD are often overlooked, though, they may have trouble finishing tasks or following directions. They may be easily distracted and appear forgetful or careless.

We offer full assessment, often including the teacher's and parents' observations of the child and treatment, currently including Teletherapy, Mindfulness Therapy and Walk and Talk modalities. We do not prescribe medication, but we do consult with your physician (most physicians require a psychosocial ADHD evaluation by a licensed psychotherapist meeting my credentials and experience), and we do provide medication management, when requested. 

 Also assisting with school 504, IEP and college accommodations.

Interview with colleague Dr. Hoza (now Baptist Health) on ADHD in children, facts vs fiction.

Currently offering Telehealth and Walk and Talk Therapy and addressing post pandemic issues regarding ADHD with children and adults.

Over the years, I’ve heard many parents and say they had trouble figuring out whether their child had attention issues or was just being stubborn and tuning out Mom or Dad. 

It can be very frustrating, for instance, to tell your child to go brush his teeth and put on his pajamas and then, 15 minutes later, find him playing with Star Wars figurines and neither of the things you asked him to do have been done. This can also be an issue in the classroom or at work. In fact, since the pandemic there has been a rise of issues as children were schooling from home or working with less structure.

It may seem as if kids with ADD aren’t listening to their parents, but the reality is that often these kids may be listening intently to everything. They just can’t filter out nonessential information in order to focus on any one thing, or simply forget within seconds of hearing the direction as the brain jumps to a new thought entirely. While this is frustrating for parents and teachers, remember that it is equally frustrating for your child and not a willful act on his part.

Forgetfulness; failure to complete tasks, chores or school work; quick temper; rapid mood changes; day dreaming; seeming not to listen; distraction; difficulty sitting still; impulsiveness/acting without thinking of the consequences; changing the subject mid conversation; speaking out of turn; etc. are all possible symptoms of ADHD/ADD.

Why find out if it is ADHD/ADD?

It is very important to find out if your child has ADHD/ADD so that you can be sure that you, your family and your child's teachers are not punishing your child for the way his or her brain is wired by punishing the symptoms of ADHD/ADD which can led to unnecessary low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, frustration, self-harm, drug use and withdrawn behaviors.

There are also a variety of interventions and accommodations that can be used at home and at school that can help.

Does that mean my child will need medication?

No, not necessarily. Often certain dietary supplements can help if there is a deficit in the diet; there are behavior plans to motivate better behaviors; organizational skills training; time management training; and your child may qualify for an IEP or 504 plan which would put in place certain accommodations at school to assist with your child's academic success. It can make or break a student's academic career when teachers and the administration know what they are dealing with, rather than presuming a student is just not applying himself. Overall, it is helpful to understand your child's wiring and whether or not he or she is intentionally defiant; or whether he or she is genuinely struggling to discriminate relevant information from the distraction of everyday life.

Is it a disorder?

Technically, ADHD is considered a diagnosis in the DSM-V (psychiatric diagnostic manual) and can be treated with psycho-stimulants with certain success. However, this type of brain wiring has served many cultures, careers and people and can definitely be an asset in the right setting. Though, it may make it much more difficult to sit at a desk for 7-11 hours per day; ADHD can certainly be beneficial in certain healthcare careers, military and combat careers, fire fighting, travel/sales position, hunting, agriculture, teaching, and sports, etc. In fact, it is hypothesized that many brilliant people probably had ADHD including Leonardo DaVinci, one of the greatest minds of all time. During the school years, though, it can definitely be of assistance to have a 504 plan or IEP (individualized education plan). We would be happy to assist your child with that process.


Nicole Story, M.Ed, Ed.S, LMFT, LMHC, NCC is a psychotherapist with dual licenses in Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) and Mental Health Counseling (LMHC).

She has Master's and Post Master's degrees (coursework equivalent to a Doctorate of Psychology) from the University of Florida and has been evaluating, diagnosing and counseling children and their parents for over 20 years in private practice and community settings including: Hope Haven Children and Family Clinic; Child Guidance Center; Meridian Behavioral Healthcare - Gainesville; The Beaches Resource Center; Miller and Quinones Pediatric Psychiatry; and as the Clinical Director of a 30 bed adolescent inpatient program, school-based and outpatient programs.

She is an active member of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health/FAIMH and the American Psychological Association/APA and served as Ethics Chair of FAMFT and as the President of AAMFT.

She has also trained and supervised clinical staff at the Youth Crisis Center; Camelot Community Care; Family Foundations; Breakthroughs; the Naval Hospital; River Region; the VA; and numerous private practices.  

Assessment for ADHD and 2nd Session to Review Testing Results (Telehealth), and 1x Letter with Diagnosis to Physician or School (if required). 

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The Child Intake Packet must also be completed as a full evaluation/initial consult is provided in addition to the ADHD Evaluation and the Results Session. Letter is optional. 

Full Diagnostic Report (as for university) is an additional fee, when required (see adult ADHD page).

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