Problems getting focused on tedious tasks, being easily distracted by unimportant things, being easily bored, shifting from one uncompleted activity to another, failure to complete assignments, inconsistent or highly variable school or work performance.
Not stopping to think before acting, not inhibiting ones actions or responses, not being able to wait, not thinking of the consequences of ones actions, not being able to work for longer-term rewards, problems following rules.
Being able to shift focus from one task to another one, dividing attention between two tasks, seeing things from more than one point of view.
Problems regulating or monitoring ones own behavior, not being aware of hyperactive, excessive activity such as being fidgety and restless, responding inappropriately to other people, interrupting and disrupting group activities, problems controlling ones emotional reactions..
Problems determining and carrying out the steps to carry out a long term task, such as writing a paper, feeling overwhelmed by large amounts of work, having a messy locker or desk.
Not remembering to do what one knows needs to be done, walking into a room and forgetting why one came in there, forgetting important things like car keys or homework.
Everybody has problems with attention, planning, and working memory from time to time, especially when they are tired or hungry or bored. Many children are active and fidgety when adults want them to be quiet. It is only a disorder when it is beyond what is normal for the situation and the person’s developmental level and, as a result, interferes with the person’s ability to function in the world and to accomplish one’s own goals. Intermittent problems with attention and impulsivity are not a disorder. If attention or impulsivity interfere with a person’s ability to form relationships, to succeed in school or work, to obey the law, to drive safely, to parent effectively, and/or be a self-supporting adult, it is then a disorder.
It is important for parents to learn about what ADHD is and how to develop effective strategies to manage their children’s behavior. Effective strategies typically involve increasing external structure, support, and consistency in all areas of the child or teen’s life. Working with a therapist who has specialized training in ADHD is a way to receive this treatment. Participating in support groups can be an added resource for parents. Research shows that 65-75% of children improve when their parents receive this information and guidance.
In a similar way, adults need to learn about ADHD and how it affects their work life, their parenting, and their relationships. Coaching that helps adults develop practical strategies for coping with ADHD and increasing structure and consistency is most likely to be helpful.
Up to 70-80% of children with diagnosed ADHD benefit from medication. Teens and adults also benefit from medication. Medications do not cure ADHD and have mixed results for some people, but can be a helpful intervention when used with other counseling and academic interventions.
Teachers need to know about ADHD so that they can implement appropriate classroom accommodations and work with parents to develop successful academic strategies that are the core of 504 Accommodation Plans and Individualized Educational Plans.
Recent studies have shown that ADHD symptoms decrease in children who participate in an aerobic exercise program five times a week.