ADHD

What is ADHD?

ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders that impacts approximately 5% of the population, and 8%-10% of school-age children. Symptoms include hyperactivity and difficulty staying focused, paying attention, and controlling behavior.

The official name is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and has three subtypes:

  • Primarily Hyperactive Type

  • Primarily Inattentive Type (some people call this ADD)

  • Combined Type (this is the most common – approx. 75%)

What Causes ADHD? 

Research has not yet exhausted all of the possibilities, however:

Heredity is the greatest risk factor. Other factors include:

  • Head injury

  • Premature birth

  • Low birth weight

  • Prenatal exposure to smoking, drugs and/or alcohol                                                                                                                             There is no evidence to support the folklore that ADHD is caused by too much television, sugar intake, food additives, or family chaos (although many families with ADHD persons are chaotic). Of course, those things do have an impact on all of us, and, thus, will impact persons with ADHD, too.

Treatment
  • Medication (approximately 85% effective). Medication treats the physiological issue.

  • Behavioral modification therapy. Therapy helps a person learn new behaviors and manage emotions.

  • Parent/Spouse education. It's important for family to understand ADHD and learn new ways of interacting.

Co-occurring Disorders:

Common disorders that often appear with ADHD are:

  • Learning Disabilities

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder

  • Other, more rare: Asperger’s Disorder, Autism, Tourette’s Syndrome

The Executive Functioning “Switch"

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder that affects the executive functioning processes. The executive functions operate in similar fashion to a methodical relay switch, and regulate information that comes into the brain from the 5 senses. When this theoretical switch is stuck in one direction, then too much information floods the brain and the person has difficulty knowing what to pay attention to - this is the hyperactive type of ADHD. When the "switch" is stuck in another direction, then information is coming into the brain from the senses, but appears to hit a wall, and doesn't get processed quickly - this is the inattentive type of ADHD. The end result often looks like poor behavior, but the behavior is just a symptom of the underlying neurobiological issue. The executive functions regulate our ability to:

  • inhibit inappropriate behavior

  • shift from task to task

  • control emotions

  • initiate new tasks

  • effectively use working memory

  • self-motivate

  • plan and organize

  • manage time

  • organize belongings

  • pay attention

Parenting Children with ADHD

Individual parent education sessions are available by appointment.  Sometimes just one visit is all that is needed. Other times a  multi-visit plan in most helpful.  An initial evaluation  will determine what types of  services are best.  

Suggested Reading:

General

Taking Charge of ADHD, 3rd Edition: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents by Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D.

The ADD and ADHD Answer Book: Professional Answers to 275 of the Top Questions Parents Ask by Susan Ashley

Elementary and Middle School
Homework Challenges Transformed: Creative Ways to Achieve Focus and Attention by Building on AD/HD Traits by Harriet Hope Green  

Getting your ADHD Child to the Aha! Moment: Effective School and Homework Strategies by Sharlene Alexander

The Organized Student: Teaching Children the Skills for Success in School and Beyond by Donna Goldberg and Jennifer Zwiebel 

Girls
 Annie’s Plan: Taking Charge of Schoolwork and Homework by Jeanne Krauss, Illustrated by Charles Beyl 
Attention Girls! A Guide to Learn All About Your ADHD by Patricia O. Quinn, MD illustrated by Carl Pearce. 

For Kids with ADHD to Read Themselves
Putting on the Brakes: Understanding and Taking Control of your ADD or ADHD, Second Edition by Patricia O. Quinn,

MD & Judith Stern, MA, Illustrated by Joe Lee
 

Teens & College
Teenagers with ADD and ADHD: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Chris Zeigler Dendy, M.S.
Proven & Practical Study Strategies for ADHD High School and College Students by Collegiate Learning

Survival Guide for College Students with ADHD or LD, 2nd Edition by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D.

Making the Grade with ADD: A Student’s Guide to Succeeding in College with Attention Deficit Disorder by

Stephanie Moulton Sarkis, Ph.D.

Adults

ADD Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau, PhD.

More Attention, Less Deficits: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD by Ari Tuckman

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder by  

Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo

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