Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Overview

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a persistent pattern of inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity manifested in academic, employment, or social situations.  There are three distinct subtypes of ADHD:

  • Inattentive Subtype: primarily involves difficulty consistently directing and sustaining one's attention
  • Hyperactive Subtype: primarily involves severe restlessness or difficulty remaining still, and in some cases difficulty controlling one's impulses.  
  • Combined Subtype:  describes people who demonstrate a significant portion of both Inattentive and Hyperactive symptoms.

Onset & Characterizations

ADHD arises during childhood and is not attributed to gross neurological, sensory, language or motor impairment, mental retardation, or severe emotional disturbance.  It is marked in school settings by careless mistakes and disorganized work.  Students often have difficulty concentrating on and completing tasks, frequently shifting from one uncompleted activity to another. In social situations, inattention may be apparent by frequent shifts in conversation, poor listening comprehension, and not following the details or rules of games and other activities.  Symptoms of hyperactivity may take the form of restlessness and difficulty with quiet activities.  Students with ADHD often have significant problems with time-management, task-completion, organization, and memory.

 Some Considerations

  • ADHD is not a form of a intellectual disability or emotional disorder
  • ADHD is not a disorder that a student "grows out of".  Diagnostic criteria for ADHD in adults include current, persistent attention difficulties.
  • Errors in the written work of students with ADHD may appear to be "careless," but actually are the result of the disability.
  • Common accommodations for students with ADHD are notetaking assistance, audio recording, lectures, a quiet test environment, extended time on tests, priority registration, early syllabus, and study skills/strategies training.