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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a regulatory problem of attention, activity level and impulse control.  Essentially, there is an inability to filter out environmental stimuli and to resist distractions.  ADHD is characterized by impulsive behaviour and unfocused attention.  ADHD could also be called a difficulty in regulating one’s own behaviour, attention and emotion.

 

There are three different types of ADHD:

- predominantly hyperactive and impulsive type,

- predominantly inattentive (without hyperactivity) type, and

- combined type.

 

Males and females can both have ADHD.  Males are more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity and tend to be identified more frequently.  The hyperactive/impulsive symptoms usually begin to show during preschool years and typically begin to decline as the child ages.  They rarely disappear completely and often persist into adulthood.

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Behaviours:

 

Impulsivity, distractibility and hyperactivity are the hallmarks of ADHD.  It is thought that part of the brain that would allow the person to think over an idea before acting is not working correctly.  This impulsivity is often the cause of physical or verbal outbursts.  The person is heard blurting out or invariably does something that is socially unacceptable.

 

Hyperactivity presents a major difficulty for students and teachers.  Because school requires each student to stay in one place and to work without disturbing others in the classroom, the student with ADHD frequently comes into conflict with the rules and expectations of the teacher and school.

 

ADHD is a misleading name when one considers the symptoms of the disorder.  People with ADHD do not lack the ability to focus.  In reality, the problem is a lack of ability to focus on the correct task or one task at a time.  These people become hyper-focused on tasks or stimuli that are dynamic (constantly changing and hands-on in nature), rather than static activities such as listening to Socratic presentation.

 

Some people have difficulty reading social cues, which can lead to problems in social environments.  They may find themselves in conflict situations, which are often the result of misinterpreted cues.

 

The short attention span can lead to careless work or jobs not completed. 

 

Indications of ADHD may include:

    being unable to organize and being unable to categorize/classify information,

    seeking sensory stimulation – fidgeting, making noises or touching people or things,

    changing thoughts quickly,

    inability to carry a task to completion

    speaking out of turn and interrupting others,

    difficulty in concentrating,

    not seeming to listen,

    often acting before thinking,

    easily overwhelmed and frustrated,

    shifting constantly from one activity to another,

    needing a great deal of supervision.

 

Adults may exhibit signs of ADHD such as overly impulsive behaviour, concentration difficulties, and the need to move constantly.

 

 

  Behaviour

  Type

 

Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort or concentration

 

Inattention

Becomes easily distracted

 

Inattention

Blurts out answers before complete question is given.

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Can’t seem to wait for his or her turn.

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Doesn’t follow instructions or fails to complete homework or other tasks

 

Inattention

Doesn’t pay attention when spoken to directly

 

Inattention

Gets up and moves around during activities in situations where remaining seated is expected.

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Has difficulty paying attention.

 

Inattention

Has lack of detail or makes careless mistakes

 

Inattention

Interrupts or intrudes others often.

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Is forgetful

 

Inattention

Is unable to play quietly

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Often fidgets

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Often loses things needed for tasks (toys, pencils, homework)

 

Inattention

Often runs or climbs in inappropriate situations

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Often seems disorganized

 

Inattention

Seems :driven by a motor”

 

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

Talks excessively

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

 

 

 

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