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Is my 7-year-old hyperactive?
Q: My daughter is 7 years old, and she is very hyper and is having problems in school. She talks in class and disturbs the teacher when she is teaching the class. I just started my job and I don't want to lose it by taking off work every time my daughter acts up. What should I do about her behaviour?
A: I’d begin by requesting an appointment with her teacher (you may already have done this) to try to identify the kind of situation that sets her misbehaviour in motion. Sometimes small changes can help a great deal—simple things like giving a child a desk near to where the teacher tends to stand, or helping the teacher identify especially good things the child can do and then giving her an opportunity to do them in class. In this conversation you need to find out whether there are specific things that precipitate the behaviour or whether it is simply a general pattern. It may be that the work is too difficult for your daughter and that her hyperactivity is a defense against trying to do things she knows she can’t do.

Next, I’d talk to her pediatrician or family physician. As you undoubtedly know, there is medication (mainly Ritalin) that is often prescoted to deal with such behaviour. Many people (and I am one of them) think that this type of presumed remedy is over-used. But certainly it should be considered.

Finally, don’t look for a “quick fix.” Try not to blame your daughter for causing you to miss work, and try to appreciate the fact that, in calling you, the principal and the teacher are letting you know that they don’t think they can solve the problem without your help.