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KIDS Attention


Who Can’t Pay


Scouts with ADHD may drive you nuts, but here’s what you can do to help them succeed — without hurting anyone’s feelings.


WHEN DAVID URION, M.D., was a Boy Scout, his troop met at an Episcopal church. One summer afternoon, the Scout leader turned his back for a minute. Before Urion knew it, his friend Doug had climbed to the top of the church steeple. The leader talked Doug down from the steeple to the church


roof, then a lower overhang, and onto his shoulders. But that adventure was only one of many exploits of this inveterate thrill-seeker. “Every time any responsible adult turned his back, Doug was on top of a garage or a flagpole,” remembers Urion, a fourth-generation Eagle Scout. “We’d be on a 25-mile hike, he’d see something off the trail that looked interesting, and if you weren’t careful, at the next stop, it would be, ‘Where’s Doug?’ ” Now a neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, Urion real-


izes in hindsight that this relentlessly impulsive boy likely had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — known as ADHD — a condition that causes children to exhibit symptoms including difficulty staying focused, controlling behavior and hyperactiv- ity. The average onset age for ADHD is age 7, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “When you see a kid who’s always out farther on a ledge or


higher than you’d like him to be, it would be a good time to have a conversation with his parents,” Urion says, “because then you can see if he’s just kind of exuberant, or if, in fact, he has ADHD.” Persistent thrill-seeking is one of several signs of possible


ADHD. Doctors diagnose a child with the disorder if he displays six or more symptoms from either a list of nine inat- tention symptoms or from a list of nine signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity. (See the lists at scoutingmagazine.org/adhd.) They next ask whether he has done so for more than six months. If you have an “Energizer Bunny” Scout so relentlessly active


by kathy seal • illustrations by sean mccabe JANUARY•FEBRUARY 2014 ¿ S COUTING 31


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