Behavior & Academic Problems

More and more evidence shows genetic influences on our behavior, both good and bad. Of course we can never use this as an excuse for all that we do, but to help a child to go in the right direction, sometimes medical interventions help when nothing else does. As adults we see that sometimes coffee or cola can help us stay alert and pay attention when otherwise we would not. In the same way, acting on the same parts of the brain as caffeine, medicine to last through the school day can help many children pay much better attention. Many times home life is helped by medicine as well because the child is then paying better attention to Mom and Dad, and arguing less, as a consequence. So, what is frequently very loosely called “bipolar disorder” because of the frequent arguments and tantrums is really attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD) in disguise. Just like with glasses, if someone has trouble focusing with their eyes or their mind, we don’t want to deprive that child of the ability to see and understand. Here at Powell Pediatrics, we deal with these issues daily, along with more complicated problems such as autism. If you would like a behavior evaluation for your child, please call 865-938-8336 for an appointment, and fill out these forms in advance:

Behavior Patient Assessment Form – Parents
Behavior Patient Assessment Form – Teachers

Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) have symptoms that may begin in childhood and continue into adulthood. ADHD and ADD symptoms can cause problems at home, school, work, and in relationships.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Even the best-behaved children can be difficult and challenging at times. But if your child or teen has a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior toward you and other authority figures, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

As a parent, you don’t have to go it alone in trying to manage a child with oppositional defiant disorder. Doctors, counselors and child development experts can help.

Treatment of ODD involves therapy, training to help build positive family interactions, and possibly medications to treat related mental health conditions.


Autism is one of a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that appear in early childhood — usually before age 3. Though symptoms and severity vary, all autism disorders affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others.

The number of children diagnosed with autism appears to be rising. It’s not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism, a real increase in the number of cases, or both.

While there is no cure for autism, intensive, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children with the disorder.