While there are no easy answers when it comes to battling ADD and ADHD, Adriana Bus at Leiden University in the Netherlands thinks that "positive feedback" is a good place to start:

Previous research has shown that children with a longer variant of the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) are more likely to do poorly in school due to shorter attention spans. So Adriana Bus at Leiden University in the Netherlands compared how well 182 4-year-olds, 40 per cent with the variant, performed in electronic reading games when supportive feedback was switched on or off.

While positive feedback helped all the children to learn, those with the DRD4 variant did significantly better than their peers (Mind, Brain and Education, DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-228X.2011.01112.x). The DRD4 variant is known to alter dopamine signalling in the brain, which may make these children more sensitive to positive feedback, Bus says.

Certain studies have found that children with ADHD tend to struggle with self-esteem, but the issue has largely remained a 'chicken or the egg' situation — are these kids struggling with self-esteem because of their ADHD or do they have ADHD because they struggle with self-esteem?

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If the latter is true, it only serves to reinforce the importance of offering support and encouragement during a child's formative years, developmental disorder or not.

Positive feedback gives kids with ADHD a head start [NewsScientist]