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ADHD All In The Family

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD, usually shows up in childhood. But many adults don't know they have it. It's often an explanation of why their own children act out or can't focus.

Is your child having a hard time paying attention in school? Can they focus at home? If the answer is no, it may not be their fault. It may be ADHD.

Five-year-old Dawson Thomas has a hard time focusing, can't sit still and leaves things half done. They're symptoms that describe ADHD and his dad.

"Doesn't focus, doesn't pay attention in class, disrupts and that's sort of an ADHD report card," father David Thomas said.

Thomas says that's what he experienced growing up and got labeled as a bad kid.

"The big thing when I was a kid, everyone also said he needs to focus and he needs to pay attention in class. Well, I couldn't. It wasn't I didn't want to, I didn't want to be in trouble. I couldn't sit there for an hour," Thomas said.
It wasn't until 10 years ago, he realized his problems had a name. When he started noticing his son acting the same he did, he questioned whether he too had ADHD.

"Oh, I knew right away," Thomas said.

"It's very strongly genetically inherited so we do see siblings having ADHD. We see parents describing having the same difficulties when they were in school," Sanford Children Psychologist Dr. David Ermer said.

Thomas is taking medication to treat the disorder; his son is not.

"To the degree that they need that, is to the degree that we try to help them. But you know you need to teach kids how to live with it anyway," Thomas said.

"I think you really need to look at, is it interfering with their functioning? Are other kids avoiding them socially? Are they getting in trouble constantly at school? If it is a problem, then it's worth looking in to," Ermer said.

Thomas says he doesn't look at ADHD as a disorder. He considers it a gift.

"I can't stand to sit still very long or to stay on one subject very long and he doesn't like to either, so if we're together, we're running around and we jump in the car. We go do this and we're all happy because we're always moving," Thomas said.