ADHD defined

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to sustain attention that could also result in hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Individuals with ADHD may present with symptoms of both inattentiveness and hyperactivity, or show primarily symptoms of inattention or primarily symptoms of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors.

Prevalence of ADHD

According to the Centers For Disease Control ADHD affects about 11 percent of children. About half will continue to experience the effects of the disorder into adulthood. ADHD is diagnosed three times more frequently in boys then girls. It is believed that ADHD is caused by differences in brain chemistry, mostly due to genetics. Differences have been found in the communication route linked to reward and consequences. ADHD is treatable with medication and therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Symptoms of ADHD

According to the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic criteria (DSM-5) the following are symptomatic of inattention.

Failure to pay close attention to detail
Makes careless mistakes
Has difficulty sustaining attention during tasks or play
Does not seem to be listening when spoken to directly
Does not follow through on instructions or finish tasks
Is frequently distracted by outside stimuli

The following are symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity identified by the American Psychiatric Association criteria (DSM-5)

Fidgeting or squirming
Often leaving seat in situations where remaining seated is expected
Is often on the go
Often talks excessively
Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed
Often has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
Often interrupts or intrudes on others

Evaluating ADHD

Problems with attention impact children and adults. Children who are diagnosed with ADHD may require accommodations in school such as being given extra time to complete schoolwork or tests. The problems may continue to have an impact on success in higher education, and accommodations may be requested at that time as well. ADHD may be identified through a combination of observation by parents and school personnel, and psychological testing performed by a psychologist. Psychological Testing looks at executive functioning skills such as sustaining attention, concentration, memory, motivation, organizational skills, cognitive flexibility, higher order reasoning skills, motivation and effort.
For more information on testing for ADHD contact Robyn Goldman Ed.D. LADC Licensed Psychologist at the Collaborative Counseling Group at (203) 220-6595.