Monday, June 18, 2012

Identifying Children with ADHD


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder. It is characterized primarily by "the co-existence of attentional problems and hyperactivity, with each behavior occurring infrequently alone" and symptoms starting before seven years of age.Although for years it was assumed to be a childhood disorder that became visible as early as age 3 and then disappeared with the advent of adolescence, the condition is not limited to children. 

The behaviors associated with ADHD change as children grow older. For example, a: 

preschool child may show gross motor over activityalways running or climbing and frequently shifting from one activity to another
Older children may be restless and fidget in their seats or play with their chairs and desks. They frequently fail to finish their schoolwork, or they work carelessly.

Adolescents with ADHD tend to be more withdrawn and less communicative. They are often impulsive, reacting spontaneously without regard to previous plans or necessary tasks and homework.
According to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) (1994), ADHD can be defined by behaviors exhibited. Individuals with ADHD exhibit combinations of the following behaviors:
  • Fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming in their seat (adolescents with ADHD may appear restless);
  • Difficulty remaining seated when required to do so;
  • Difficulty sustaining attention and waiting for a turn in tasks, games, or group situations;
  • Blurting out answers to questions before the questions have been completed;
  • Difficulty following through on instructions and in organizing tasks;
  • Shifting from one unfinished activity to another;
  • Failing to give close attention to details and avoiding careless mistakes;
  • Losing things necessary for tasks or activities;
  • Difficulty in listening to others without being distracted or interrupting;
  • Wide ranges in mood swings; and
  • Great difficulty in delaying gratification.
Children with ADHD show different combinations of these behaviors and typically exhibit behavior that is classified into two main categories: poor sustained attention and hyperactivity-impulsiveness. For instance, children with ADHD, without hyperactivity and impulsivity, do not show excessive activities or fidgeting but instead may daydream, act lethargic or restless, and frequently do not finish their academic work. Not all of these behaviors appear in all situations. A child with ADHD may be able to focus when he or she is receiving frequent reinforcement or is under very strict control.
Although many children have only ADHD, others have additional academic or behavioral diagnoses. 
When selecting and implementing successful instructional strategies and practices, it is imperative to understand the characteristics of the child, including those pertaining to disabilities or diagnoses. This knowledge will be useful in the evaluation and implementation of successful practices, which are often the same practices that benefit students without ADHD.

Reference:  Kelly Henderson, 2006, Teaching Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Instructional Strategies and Practices, U.S. Department of Education [Online] Available at:


  1. Good Article About Identifying Children with ADHD

  2. Dear All:

    From the Spanish Federation of Associations of Aid to the ADHD, ( FEAADAH) have launched a campaign for request to the WHO (World Health Organization) date in her official calendar of health days for the World Awareness Day of DAHD.
    This campaign has the invaluable support of the WFADHD (World Federation of ADHD) and our greatest satisfaction would be able to count with you for carry out this cause.

    We would be very happy to have the you on board.

    Thanks for your time and your cooperation.
    Francisco Fernández
    TDAH Vallés.
    Sabadell; Barcelona.