Your Attention Deficit Disorder information source for
Here at the ADD ADHD Information Library we have over 150 pages of free information for parents and teachers to help those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - "ADD" or "ADHD".
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often called ADD or ADHD, is a diagnostic label that we give to children and adults who have significant problems in four main areas of their lives:
Inattention, Impulsivity, Hyperactivity, and Boredom.
This position has become controversial as many would like to dismiss the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder altogether saying that there is no evidence of neurological differences, or that there are no medical tests to diagnose ADD ADHD, or that the diagnostic criteria is too broad.
For now we will simply report that there is a tremendous amount of research to support the statement that, indeed, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurologically based condition. Visit our page on the neurology of ADD ADHD.
Defiance, rebelliousness, and selfishness are usually "moral" issues, not neurological issues. We make no excuses for "immoral," "selfish," or "destructive" behaviors, whether from individuals with ADD ADHD or not.
It may also be true that the parents may need further training. We are constantly amazed at how many young parents today grew up in homes where their parents were gone all day. We now see "grown up latch key kids" trying to parent as best as they can, but without having had the benefit of growing up with good parental role models. This is a problem as well. But it is not Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder that we will be exploring here at the ADD Information Library.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a medical condition, caused by genetic factors that result in certain neurological differences.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder comes in various forms. In the DSM-IV Diagnostic manual, each of these forms, or "types" of ADHD falls under the diagnostic category of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The main category is then subdivided into ADHD Inattentive Type, or ADHD Impulsive-Hyperactive Type, or ADHD Combined Type.In the recent past, the terms attention deficit disorder "with" or "without" hyperactivity were also commonly used. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder comes in various forms, and truly, no two ADD or ADHD kids are exactly alike.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADD ADHD - might affect one, two, or several areas of the brain, resulting in several different "styles" or "profiles" of children (and adults) with ADD ADHD.
These different profiles impact performance in these four areas:
A few other important characteristics of this disorder are:
1) That it is SEEN IN MOST SITUATIONS, not just at school, or just in the home. When the problem is seen only at home, we then would wonder if perhaps the child is depressed, or if the child is just being non-compliant with the parents;
2) That the problems are apparent BEFORE the AGE OF SEVEN (7).
Since Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is thought to be a neurologically based disorder, we would expect that, outside of acquiring its symptoms from a head injury, the individual with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder would have been born with the disorder.
Even though the disorder might not become much of a problem until the second or third grade when the school work becomes more demanding, one would expect that at least some of the symptoms were noted before the age of seven. See ADDinSchool.com for 500 classroom interventions.
The most recent models that attempt to describe what is happening in the brains of people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder suggest that several areas of the brain may be affected by the disorder. They include the frontal lobes, the inhibitory mechanisms of the cortex, the limbic system, and the reticular activating system. Each of these areas of the brain is associated with various functions.
There are several areas of the brain potentially impacted, and there are several possible "types" of ADHD. Daniel Amen, a medical doctor using SPECT scans as identified six different types of ADHD, each with its own set of problems, and each different from the other "types."
In our practice we used five different "types" of ADHD, identifying each "type" with a character from the Winnie the Pooh stories (Pooh is inattentive, Tigger is hyperactive, Eeyore is depressive, and so on). We discuss in greater detail here.
The frontal lobes help us to pay attention to tasks, focus concentration, make good decisions, plan ahead, learn and remember what we have learned, and behave appropriately for the situation.
The inhibitory mechanisms of the cortex keep us from being hyperactive, from saying things out of turn, and from getting mad at inappropriate times, for examples. They help us to "inhibit" our behaviors.
We have the complete article on What Causes ADD ADHD here. It is about two pages of text.
The 5% number is a solid, conservative number supported by a lot of research.
Even at 5% each classroom in America will have one or two (2) ADHD kids in the class. So it is a very real, and very significant problem across America. (Visit ADDinSchool.com for 500 classroom interventions.)
When only Parent Rating Scales are used in a research project, the numbers will range from a low of seven percent (7%) of school-aged children to a high of twenty-three percent (23%) of children.
You may see published estimates stating that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may effect as many as 20% to 30% of children in America, but these numbers are not really supported by research data, and are probably inflated for the purpose of trying to sell something.
However, we should note that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Head Injuries, or other Specific Learning Disabilities, are often mistaken for ADD ADHD, which can inflate the numbers reported.About 35% of all children referred to mental health clinics are referred for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is one of the most prevalent of all childhood psychiatric disorders.
Click here to see the complete article on why it seems like there are so many children with ADD ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Anti-social behaviors are common with ADHD individuals. About 60% of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder kids are also oppositional or defiant. Some are even getting in trouble with the law.
Impulsive-Hyperactive ADHD kids are the most likely to get into trouble than are the Inattentive ADHD kids, as they tend to crave the stimulation of anti-social behaviors, and impulsively "act-out". Because they are impulsive, they don't plan their crimes well, and are usually easily caught. We have a full article on ADHD and anti-social behaviors for you to read.
Often the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder child has special educational needs, though not always. Most Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder kids can be successful in the regular classroom with some help.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the phrase that is used to describe children who have significant problems with high levels of distractibility or inattention, impulsiveness, and often with excessive motor activity levels. There may be deficits in attention and impulse control without hyperactivity being present. In fact, recent studies indicate that as many as 40% of the ADD ADHD kids may not be hyperactive.
1. Don't buy into the line, "He'd behave if he wanted to." That may or may not be true. He may behave just fine from time to time, and if you encourage him, he may do well for periods of time. But his problem is not that he does not want to behave, rather his problem has a medical basis as described above.
2. Understand that of all kids with ADD, about 60% or so are hyperactive, and that 40% or so are not hyper at all. Also know that about 60% are male, and about 40% are female. Not all kids with ADD cause problems. Only one out of three with the disorder will ever get help from a professional.
3. Don't dismiss the behaviors as either poor parenting or poor classroom management.
It's important to know that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and I.Q. are two different things.
Some parents are convinced that if their child has ADD ADHD it means that they are retarded. On the other hand, other parents say, "I've heard that ADD kids are really very, very bright. I think my child must have ADD," as if they wanted to wear a button that said, "My child is smarter than your child because he has ADD."
In fact, if you think about it, the classroom setting is probably the worst possible setting for these kids. There are a lot of distractions, yet they are told to sit still, don't move, don't talk, to pay attention to boring worksheets, and keep on task until the work is finished. None of these things come easily to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder kids.Many Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder kids "hit a wall" in school as the school year progresses. Every week they just get a little farther and farther behind, until they're so far behind that it's impossible to catch up.
If your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD - then at some point you will be asking the question, "Will my child ever outgrow it?" Studies indicate that 50% of those with ADHD will outgrow some of the symptoms by the time he or she is in their 20's. The old school of thinking was that once a child with ADHD reached puberty he no longer needed any help for his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but this is simply not true.
There is one final growth spurt of the brain, particularly in the frontal lobes, at about 19 or 20 years old. It is not much, but for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder it just might make a big difference.
We should also acknowledge that for many ADHD will turn out to be the ticket for disaster in their lives.
About half of all individuals with ADHD will also develop problems with society, with authority, with the rules of life. These individuals will average about two felony arrests before the age of 20 unless they are properly treated as a child.
One study suggests that about half of all men in prison in the state of California carried the diagnoses of ADHD and Conduct Disorder as children, but went untreated, either because the families denied that there was a problem, or didn't have the financial resources for treatment, or because they just didn't know what to do about the problem.
It is extremely important that all children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, whether the inattentive space-cadets or the impulsive hyperactive ADHD children, it's important that all children with ADHD receive the help that they need.
These children need to tools to help them be successful. Read on for much more...