The generally accepted definition of Attention Deficit Disorder (as established in the DSM IV) distinguishes between three types of attention disorders. The new name for this is now "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder":
1. The type primarily characterized by inattention (difficulty sustaining attention to task)
2. The type characterized by hyperactivity-impulsivity (excessive fidgeting or talking, difficulty refraining from saying whatever or doing whatever comes to mind)
3. The "combined type" in which both inattention and hyper-activity/impulsivity are present
Diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist, a doctoral level clinical or educational psychologist or a combination thereof. (The LD program cannot make this diagnosis, but does give referrals to qualified practitioners)
The following five criteria must be met in order for a diagnosis to be made:
- The person must display a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than his/her peers.
- Some of these hyperactive or inattentive behaviors must have been present before age 7 years.
- Some impairment due to the symptoms must be present in at least two settings. (example: workplace and school)
- There must be clear evidence of interference with develop-mentally appropriate social, academic or occupational functioning.
- The "disturbance" is not better explained by another disorder schizophrenia, depression, autism, chronic anxiety, etc.)
The diagnosis is made through the process of interview, observation, questionnaires. Complete medical, developmental and educational histories are taken and evaluated, along with impressions from "significant others" in the person’s life.
COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF ADHD:
- Following are some typical characteristics of persons with AD/HD. This is only a partial list, and not meant to be diagnostic.
Often seems inattentive to details, makes frequent errors in school work
Has difficulty sustaining attention
May seem not to listen when spoken to directly
Difficulty with "following through"
Fails to complete tasks
Has trouble organizing tasks and activities
Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort
Loses things necessary for tasks
Is easily distracted by the environment
Frequently forgets appointments or other daily activities
Fidgets or squirms restlessly
Inability to engage in leisure activities quietly
Is always "on the go"
Blurts out answers before questions are completed
Often interrupts or intrudes on others
Interesting Articles related to this topic:
"Adult ADD Symptom Checklist"