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What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiologically based disorder that impacts an individual's learning and behavior. Specifically, the disorder may involve attention deficits, impulsivity, hyperactivity, mood swings, low stress tolerance and difficulty in following rules. It is a hidden disability which often impacts upon an individual's performance in the early school years, college and throughout life. ADHD is not the result of poor parenting, inadequate teaching, laziness or emotional disturbance. It is frequently mislabeled, misdiagnosed and misunderstood.

Typically, children with ADHD have problems in following through on instructions. Parents often comment that these children don't seem to listen even when they are being spoken to directly, but will hear a whispered secret from an upstairs room! Children with ADHD are often poorly organized and lose things. They rarely seem to plan ahead, or consider the consequences for their actions. They are easily distracted or forgetful. They have trouble starting tasks, attending to details, staying with a task, and finishing tasks. They seem to lose interest quickly. On the other hand, Nintendo games or a favorite television programs, or something they are interested in can hold their attention for hours!

Some children with ADHD are constantly in motion and are often described as Fidgety Phils. They sometimes talk constantly, intrude on others' conversations, or impulsively say whatever comes to their minds. Individuals with ADHD have trouble waiting for their turn in games and often ignore the rules. These children are often shunned by their peers. Even though parents try to teach good social skills, and the children know what they are to do, the child has problems doing what they have been taught.

Good Sources of Information:

There are two national membership organizations that provide excellent information for parents and professionals working with families who are experiencing ADHD.

CH.A.D.D. (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) CH.A.D.D. works to improve the lives of individuals with ADHD through family support and advocacy, public and professional education, and encouragement of scientific research. CH.A.D.D. sponsors local chapters throughout the United States. They publish ATTENTION! magazine and the Chadderbox Newsletter four times a year. This site also includes information about legislation and public policy issues that are important to families and individuals with ADHD.

ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association) This site provides information and support primarily to adults and young adults with ADHD. This web site offers extensive information through interesting general articles and interviews.

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