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ADHD - Children and Adults

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

ADHD - Children and Adults

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children

ADHD also affects many adults, but many do not realize they have the disorder. A comprehensive evaluation typically includes a review of past and current systems, a medical exam, history and use of adult rating scales or checklists

Children whose ADHD impairs their learning may qualify for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Act. Children with ADHD can benefit from study skills instruction, changes to the classroom setup, alternative teaching techniques and a modified curriculum

An estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD.

ADHD in Children

Teachers and school staff can provide parents and doctors with information to help evaluate behavior and learning problems if any are presented, and can assist with behavioral training. However, teachers and staff are not authorized to diagnose ADHD, make decisions about the child's treatment or require the child take medication to attend school

The symptoms of hyperactivity, when present, are almost always apparent by the age of 7 and may be present in very young preschoolers

ADHD occurs more in males than females, and behaviors can be different in boys and girls. For example, boys may be more hyperactive and girls may tend to be quietly inattentive.

Here are three subtypes of ADHD:

Predominantly inattentive: The majority of symptoms fall under inattention

Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive: The majority of symptoms are hyperactive and impulsive

Combined: This is a mix of inattentive symptoms and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms

Most healthy children are inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive at one time or another. It’s typical for preschoolers to have short attention spans and be unable to stick with one activity for long periods of time. Even in older children and teenagers, attention span often depends on the level of interest.

ADHD in Adults

ADHD may make you think of kids who have trouble paying attention or who are hyperactive or impulsive. Adults can have ADHD as well, but few adults get diagnosed or treated for it.

Who gets adult ADHD?

Every adult who has ADHD had it as a child, some were diagnosed and known about it. But some may not have been diagnosed when they were young and only found out later in life

If you have adult ADHD, you may find it hard to:

● Follow directions

● Remember information

● Concentrate

● Organize tasks

● Finish work on time

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can change overtime. Unfortunately, they may cause trouble in many parts of life, home, work or school. Getting treatment and learning ways to manage ADHD can help. Most people learn to adapt and develop their personal strengths and find success!

What causes ADHD?

ADHD is the most researched area in child and adolescent mental health. However, with all the research that has been done, the cause of the disorder is still unknown.

Some evidence suggests that ADHD is genetic and is a brain based biological disorder, For example, three out of four children with ADHD have a relative with the disorder, other factors contribute to the development of ADHD including:

  • Born Prematurely

  • Brain Injury

  • Mother smoking during pregnancy, consuming alcohol, or having excessive stress

Most parents of children with ADHD experienced symptoms of ADHD when they were younger. ADHD is commonly found in brothers and sisters within the same family

Most families seek help when their child’s symptoms begin to interfere with learning and adjust to the expectations of school and age-appropriate activities

While many kids with ADHD outgrow it, about 60% still have it as adults. Adult ADHD seems to affect men and women equally


ADHD can make life difficult for Adults and Children. Children with ADHD often struggle with:

  • Being able to focus in the classroom, which can lead to academic failure and judgment by other peers and adults

  • Children tend to have more accidents and injuries of all kinds than do children who don’t have ADHD

  • Poor self-esteem

  • Are more likely to have trouble interacting with and being accepted by peers and adults

  • Are at increased risk of alcohol and drug abuse and other delinquent behavior

Adults with ADHD often struggle with:

  • Becoming easily distracted by low-priority activities or external events that others tend to ignore

  • Having way too many simultaneous thoughts that it is difficult to follow one

  • Poor listening skills; for example, having a hard time remembering conversations or following directions

  • Tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work

  • Frequently daydreaming or “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation


When you have ADHD, it’s easy to end up thinking that there's something wrong with you. But it’s okay to be different. ADHD isn’t an indicator of intelligence or capability

You may find difficulty in certain areas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find your key to success, it’s important to discover your strengths and capitalize on them

It’s also not your fault you have ADHD, while you can’t control how you’re wired, you can take steps to compensate for your weaknesses and learn to flourish in all areas of your life!

If the symptoms of ADHD are still getting in the way of your life, despite self-help efforts to try to manage them, it may be time to seek outside support, treatment for adults with attention deficit disorder, like treatment for children, should involve a team of professionals, along with the person's family members and spouse

At Alex Dixon Therapy, I can help you control impulsive behaviors, manage your time, get organized, boot your productivity at home and work, manage stress and anger, and communicate more clearly and effectively!

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