Meetings scheduled to bring ADD awareness

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— Adults and parents of children with Attention Deficit Disorder will have an opportunity to learn about alternative ways to overcome a condition that challenges young and old alike.

The Steamboat Mental Health Center plans to bring a series of informational meetings on dealing with ADD to the community.

The meetings should begin around the first of the year, said Deb Hutson, a therapist at the center.

Staff at the center saw a need to offer some new insights to people struggling with the effects of ADD, she said.

Children are not the only group affected by ADD, Hutson said. Adults who live with the condition must learn to deal with the condition on a different level.

Signs of Attention Deficit Disorder, also referred to as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, may be slight or strong. Children with ADD, in particular, are easily distracted or might have trouble following directions.

ADD often leads to impulsive or hypersensitive behavior.

The group will provide an avenue for discussion about alternatives to medication, Hutson said.

Other options exist beyond the well-known drug Ritalin, she said, and professionals will be on hand to present those options.

"What we are trying to have is a few parents with ADD children or adults themselves who are dealing with this to share how they cope with ADD," Hutson said. "We hope they might be able to learn from each other as well."

Joe Gottfried, a psychiatrist at Steamboat Mental Health Center, will be one of the presenters.

The Steamboat Springs School District recognizes the presence of ADD among its students and works with children affected by the condition, Hutson said.

Barbara Youngs, a special education resource teacher at Soda Creek Elementary School, said students with ADD are helped on a case-by-case basis.

"ADD manifests itself in many ways," she said. "You can't use the same approach for every student."

Some children who demonstrate more pronounced signs of ADD may receive some special education, while others with more subtle signs might function well in a regular classroom setting with minimal help.

Michael Toothaker will join Hutson in facilitating the meetings, which are tentatively set for 6 p.m. Thursdays.

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