Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Most children have the combined type of ADHD.
In preschool, the most common ADHD symptom is hyperactivity.
It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity, and impulsivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviors:
People with symptoms of inattention may often:
People with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:
Diagnosis of ADHD requires a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed clinician, such as a pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist with expertise in ADHD. For a person to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be chronic or long-lasting, impair the person’s functioning, and cause the person to fall behind typical development for his or her age. The doctor will also ensure that any ADHD symptoms are not due to another medical or psychiatric condition. Most children with ADHD receive a diagnosis during the elementary school years. For an adolescent or adult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms need to have been present before age 12.
ADHD symptoms can appear as early as between the ages of 3 and 6 and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD can be mistaken for emotional or disciplinary problems or missed entirely in quiet, well-behaved children, leading to a delay in diagnosis. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD may have a history of poor academic performance, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships.
ADHD symptoms can change over time as a person ages. In young children with ADHD, hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most predominant symptom. As a child reaches elementary school, the symptom of inattention may become more prominent and cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to lessen and may show more often as feelings of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity may remain. Many adolescents with ADHD also struggle with relationships and antisocial behaviors. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood.
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The information contained on this website is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the process from a purely educational perspective, as it pertains to special education for students with disabilities, parents of students with disabilities and attorneys who are new to special education practice.
This website or links to articles is not intended to and should not be substituted for legal advice of any sort and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon with the expectation of an automatic or even an improved chance of a prevailing party decision in a special education due process hearing, nor does it promise or warrant any particular result if the educational tips contained herein are followed whether they are used as written or used as modified by you or an attorney .
To attain legal advice as to the individual circumstances of your individual case, please consult with an attorney of your choice who is licensed in your state and knowledgeable about special education matters and the individualized history and facts of your particular case.
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