[Skip to Navigation]
A Piece of My Mind
January 17, 2001


JAMA. 2001;285(3):261-262. doi:10.1001/jama.285.3.261

William, the youngest of four children, the only son and much wanted, was born at a relatively easy time in his parents' lives. Graduate school was behind them, careers established, the mortgage no longer burdensome, and their three girls were doing well in school. They settled into a semirural community in the northeast, where they felt comfortable and had many ties of family and friends.

From age 2 William was a problem. At first it was hard to pinpoint. He was always darting back and forth and fidgeting. He did not seem to listen or even to hear. Unlike his sisters, he could not sit through a bedtime story. His sleep was irregular, gradually leading to all-night sojourns: his jumping, banging, and crying kept everyone awake. He took to throwing his toys out the window to watch them break.