What is ADHD?

What is ADHD?

ADHD is listed as a subcategory under “other health impairments.” When a student has “other health impairments” they have “limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems” (212).

At this time, most scientists all agree that it’s hard to say what causes ADHD in children. Many studies have been made which suggests that genes are an important factor, and that the disorder is most likely hereditary.

IDEA does not define AD/HD specifically, therefore many professionals turn to the definition provided by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) (2000) as it is written in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR)-

                “The essential feature of Attention-Deficient/Hyperactivity Disorder is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development." (p. 85, p.212)

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

In order to be diagnosed as having AD/HD or combined type, the student must show at least six characteristics in each subcategory/subcategories listed below. These characteristics must be present for at least six months in order to recognize if the child is not in the criteria of adaptive behavior.

Predominately inattentive type- Students of this type are usually not disruptive and maybe overlooked than those who have hyperactivity-impulsivity. They have difficulty working in a distracting environment, absorbing large amounts of information, transitioning from one task to another, and/or being able to follow a series of instructions.

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the work place(not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  •  Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as school work or homework)
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities ( e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils books,  or tools)
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities ‘ (APA, 2000, p. 92)” (p.213).


  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seats in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
  • Often has difficulty palying or enaggaing in leisure activities  quietly
  •  Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • Often talks excessively


  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Often has difficulty waiting to take turns
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

(APA,2000, p.92)’ “ (p. 214).

Combined type- Students who have combined type of both inattentive and hyperactivity-impulsivity and are represented as ADHD, without the slash. Most students belong under this type, ADHD, and this is most of the research type of AD/HD.

An example of behavior exhibited by a child with ADHD can be seen here:


Book Recommendations:

For More Information...

Recommended Reading:

ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table

ADHD and MeBlake Taylor’s memoir, written when he was 17, offers, for the first time, a young person’s account of what it’s like to live and grow up with this common condition. Join Blake as he foils bullies, confronts unfair teachers, struggles with distraction and disorganization on exams, and goes sailing out-of-bounds and ends up with a boatload of spiders. It will be an inspiration and companion to the millions of others like him who must find a way to thrive with a different perspective than many of us.

Blake’s mother first suspected he had ADHD when he, at only three years of age, tried to push his infant sister in her carrier off the kitchen table. As time went by, Blake developed a reputation for being hyperactive and impulsive. He launched rockets (accidentally) into neighbor’s swimming pools and set off alarms in museums. Blake was diagnosed formally with ADHD when he was five years old. In this book, he tells about the next twelve years as he learns to live with both the good and bad sides of life with ADHD.

The book also features an introduction by psychologist Lara Honos-Webb, author of The Gift of ADHD, and a leading advocate for kids with ADHD.

Learn more at Amazon.com

Parenting Children With ADHD: 10 Lessons That Medicine Cannot Teach

Parenting Children With Adhd Kids with ADHD need to be loved and shown how to become successful adults. Unfortunately, their lack of attention and restlessness often get in the way. Parents of these kids try so hard to stay connected and remain patient in the face of daily frustration. However, it is an incredible challenge to remain positive and involved when your child does not respond to the kinds of strategies that work for other children. Without guidance and systematic treatment, these bright, inquisitive children are unlikely to graduate from high school, are more prone to use illegal drugs, and struggle to maintain employment as adults.

This book gives parents a framework for building a successful parenting program at home. Drawing from his experiences in evaluating and treating thousands of children and teens with ADHD, Vincent Monastra presents a series of ten lessons that are essential for promoting the success of kids with ADHD. In simple language, Monastra explains the causes of ADHD and how nutrition, medication and certain therapeutic procedures can improve attention, concentration, and behavioral control. Recognizing the importance of school success, Monastra also reviews the educational rights of children with ADHD and outlines a process for working with school districts to get your child the help they need. Beyond this foundation, Monastra describes non-confrontational ways to teach your child essential life skills like organization, problem-solving, and emotional control. Through guiding principles like “Work for Play” and “Time Stands Still”, Monastra ends the struggle for control and helps children learn that in life you need to “earn your play” and apologize and “make amends” when you do something that hurts another person (or makes their life more difficult).

There is no substitute for experience, and this author shares his vast clinical and research experience and expertise in working exclusively with children and teens with ADHD. The book sets itself apart from the sometimes crowded field of ADHD literature by offering a novel nonmedication/lessons-oriented approach to the management and treatment of ADHD.

Learn more at Amazon.com