Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. Everyone has occasional difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behavior. For some children and adults, however, the problem is so pervasive and persistent that it interferes with their daily lives at home, at school, at work, and in social settings. Early identification and treatment are extremely important.

Anyone can have ADHD!

ADHD is seen about 3 times more often in boys than in girls. ADHD affects children of all ethnic backgrounds and all socioeconomic levels.

There are three types of ADHD:

1. ADHD Combined Type:

Students with ADHD have significant and chronic problems with both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

2. ADHD Predominately Inattentive Type:

Students have a lot of difficulty with inattention and not much trouble with hyperactivity or impulsivity; some of them sit quietly staring into space and daydreaming.

3. ADHD Predominately Hyperactive/Impulsive Type:

Students show little difficulty with inattention, but have serious problems with excessive hyperactivity and impulsivity.

What could ADHD look like?

1. Short attention span

2. Susceptible to distraction by extraneous stimuli

3. High energy level, restlessness, difficulty sitting still, loud or excessive talking

4. Impulsive. Blurting out answers. Frequent disruptive and aggressive behaviors

5. Difficulty accepting responsibility for actions

6. Repeated failure to follow through on instructions, school assignments or chores

Possible Causes...

  • Genetic factors
  • Exposed to excessive stimulation
  • Exposed to inadequate stimulation
  • Deprivation of play material or experience
  • Lag in neurological development
  • Lax or inconsistent discipline

How can I help?

  • Parents/Teachers utilize short term behavior contracts to reinforce positive behaviors

  • Arrange for psychological testing/may need to refer to outside agency

  • Arrange for a medication evaluation

  • Assist in creating an organized environment with clear expectations. Provide structure and reduce distractions

  • Use art, play or role-plays to practice strategies to reduce impulsiveness

  • Give simple tasks to complete, and praise or reward when successfully completed

  • Promote feelings of adequacy

  • Read and ask parents to read ‘The ADD Hyperactivity Handbook for Schools’

  • Assist parents help the student learn to delay gratification for longer term goals

  • Encourage participation in extracurricular activities that provide a physical outlet and improve her/his social skills
Develop a Routine that Works

An organized day will help a child with ADHD/ADD. Here is an example.


The good news about ADHD is that this disorder can, in most cases, be successfully treated. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) have published science-based guidelines for treatment, which are based on careful study of the voluminous research done on ADHD over the past 60 years.

ADHD is a complex cognitive disorder, affecting all age groups of both genders. ADHD is increasingly recognized as a developmental impairment of executive functions of the brain, a disorder that is chronic and often persists well into adulthood.The disorder is dimensional; most students experience symptoms of ADHD to varying degrees and extent, which can appear as a simple problem of insufficient willpower.

ADHD is not easily assessed by observation alone; comprehensive evaluations, including student, teacher, and family interviews, are essential to diagnosis. ADHD is implicated in many psychiatric and learning disorders. About 80 percent of children who have ADHD benefit substantially from careful evaluation and appropriate treatment.


Fact Sheet

DSM 5 Diagnostic Criteria

Books for students

  • Learning to Slow Down and Pay Attention, by Kathleen Nadeau and Ellen Dixon. This guidebook for children with attention problems helps them learn ways to deal with problems such as getting ready for school in the morning, cleaning the room, doing homework, and making friends. It includes a section on projects to do with parents.

  • How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger, by Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis. Filled with solid information, sound advice, and humor, this book offers tips and techniques to help children understand anger, and how to deal with it in healthy, positive ways.

  • Cory Stories, by Jeanne Kraus.This book details the difficulties of being a child with ADHD and how behavioral intervention can be a beneficial treatment.

  • Shelley The Hyperactive Turtle, by Deborah Moss.
    After getting into trouble by not paying attention, Shelley the turtle is diagnosed with ADHD and his behavior improves.

  • Ethan Has Too Much Energy, by Lawrence E. Shapiro. Tells the story of an active impulsive boy, who with the help of a counselor, learns to calm himself down, focus on one task at a time, and organize his work.

  • The Girls Guide to AD/HD, by Beth Walker. Written for teenaged girls with ADHD, this book answers all of the questions that girls have about the causes of ADHD; how counseling, coaching, and medications can help; how to cope with school and homework; how to get along better with family and friends.

  • A Walk in the Rain With A Brain, by Edward Hallowell. A young girl named Lucy meets a brain that tells her a story about how everyone is smart in different ways.

  • My Brother's a World-Class Pain, by Michael Gordon. This story about an older sister's efforts to deal with her active and impulsive brother sends the clear message to siblings of the ADHD child that they can play an important role in a family's quest for change.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) Websites

ADHD.Com Online Community

Is for families with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here you will find information including summer camps and schools that specialize in working with ADHD children, hope, support, and tips. We also want to listen -- to what works, what doesn't, and what particular challenges you have faced.

The A.D.D. & Family Support Centre

A comprehensive guide for students with ADD or ADHD, their parents and teachers. This site contains information on organizational management, homework assistance, medication, behavioral management strategies, note taking, study strategies, classroom management techniques, grade level enrichment strategies, enhancing social skills and more.

CHADD CHADD is a non-profit organization serving individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Through collaborative leadership, advocacy, research, education and support, CHADD provides science-based, evidence-based information about AD/HD to parents, educators, professionals, the media and the general public.

NASP Center Resources

Article “Helping the ADHD Child in the Classroom”

University of St. Thomas ADHD Student Study Guide

Site provides suggested learning and study strategies for students who have ADHD in a professionally organized program of assistance derived from the American description of ADHD. These strategies are helpful to know and develop in overcoming learning difficulties associated ADHD. Also, contains links to other helpful sites.

Books and Videos about ADHD for Parents and Teachers.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: What Every Parent Wants to Know by David L. Wodrich, October, 1999

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood, by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D., January 1995.

Healing Add : The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of A.D.D by Daniel G. Amen,MD, February 2001

Parenting A Child With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder by Nancy S. Boyles, Darlene Contadino; October 1999

Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell A. Barkley

Talking Back to Ritalin by Dr. Peter Bregen

12 Effective Ways to Help Your Add/Adhd Child: Drug-Free Alternatives for Attention-Deficit Disorders by Laura J. Stevens, William G. Crook

User's Guide to the Brain : Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain (Age of Unreason) by John J. Ratey M.D., January 2001


ADHD What Can We Do?

A New Look at ADHD!

Both available from: