Symptoms of ADHD - Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder - cause impairment in functioning. Those with the disorder experience, among other challenges, difficulty with: regulating emotions, organizing and planning, working memory, time management, staying on task, inhibition, and the ability to sense and appreciate the needs and situations of others.
The causes of ADHD are still unknown, but what we do know is that it can run in families. Prenatal factors, such as the mother's stress levels, nutrition, and exposure to toxins, may be potential causes. There is no evidence that parenting practices or teacher practices cause the disorder, but they can certainly impact impairment for either better or worse.
Currently, there are no medical / laboratory tests available that can diagnose ADHD. It is usually diagnosed by a licensed psychologist after meeting specific criteria.
Approximately 11% of school-aged children have ADHD. It is said to be the most common neurodevelopmental disorder affecting children. Indeed, it accounts for 1/3 to 1/2 of all referrals to psychologists. Many children who have ADHD experience strong emotional reactions to any sort of provocation.
Additionally, many with ADHD have other disorders, as well. These may include, in no particular order:
- anxiety disorders
- conduct disorder (CD)
- specific learning disorders
- oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- language disorders
- Depression and/or other mood disorders
- Tourette syndrome (TS)
How ADHD relates to special education
Regardless if a student is taking medication, interventions in the school environment are, more often than not, needed.
Since 1991, ADHD is classified as Other Health Impaired (OHI), which allows children to qualify for special education services. Before 1991, a diagnosis of ADHD, alone, did not suffice for special education services. Some 60% of students who are receiving special education services in the categories of either Other Health Impaired (OHI) or Emotional Disturbance (ED) meet the criteria for ADHD.
The two most relevant laws benefiting children with ADHD are the 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004.
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - CDC.gov
ADHD Health Center - WebMD.com