There are many misconceptions of ADHD in the world. A person who is newly diagnosed or a parent who has a child diagnosed must sort out what is truth and what is misguided information. This can be very overwhelming! There are many reliable sources to gather information from and I will list a few at the end of this blog.
Lets start with ADD vs ADHD. It use to be that medical professionals distinguished hyperactivity by using ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADD was then used to describe those who did not have the hyperactive component. Now, however, professionals use the term “ADHD” to cover all ADHD types.
There are 3 types of ADHD which are used to classify where people fit in the ADHD world.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive: This is the type most often noticed by teachers in the early years of school, but not exclusive to children. These children squirm in their seats, often act like they are “driven by a motor”, fidget, talk a lot, interrupt others, struggle with self control and blurt out answers. This type is more common in children and men according to ADDitude magazine.
- Predominantly Inattentive: Formerly known as ADD. Kids with this type of ADHD often are not diagnosed as quickly. They are daydreamers, easily distracted, and may come across as shy. They are not disruptive in class as they have less struggle with impulsivity and hyperactivity. They do however make careless mistakes because they have difficulty paying attention to detail, and organizing tasks and activities. This is more common in women and girls. (ADDitude Magazine)
- Combined: These people present with both of the above characteristics. Kids/Adults with this type of ADHD have difficulty with hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention. Typically, as these kids mature they have less difficulty with hyperactivity and impulse control according to Understood.org. I believe often the hyperactivity/impulse control is still there but they have learned to manage it through exercise and other strategies.
Boys and girls, regardless of the type of ADHD, tend to be diagnosed at different ages. Typically boys are diagnosed at a younger age, around age seven. Girls on the other hand are usually not diagnosed until the age of twelve. According to Dr. Kathleen Nadeau, “girls are less rebellious, less defiant, generally less ‘difficult’ than boys. They’re socialized to please teachers and parents making ADHD harder to spot”. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD whereas girls are often overlooked because they don’t act up as much.
My son was not a “bouncing off the walls” type of child so when he was diagnosed with combined I was surprised. He was active but not in the way I thought hyperactivity played out! My son fidgets alot. You will find him picking at things, tapping, twirling pencils and occasionally he just can’t sit. In preschool he would sit on his mat… and twirl around on his bottom like a top! He knew enough to stay seated though! These are all components of the hyperactivity portion of ADHD. What helps him? Physical activity is a must! It is getting harder in his teen years to just go outside and play but he does well shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn. He also can be found often with an elastic on his wrist that he plays with when he has to sit.
Here are a few of my go to resources when I am looking for reliable information on ADHD. This is not an exhaustive list by any means!
- Dr. Edward Hallowell http://www.drhallowell.com/
- Dr. Russell Barkley http://www.russellbarkley.org/
- Understood.org https://www.understood.org/en
- ADDitude Magazine https://www.additudemag.com/
- CADDAC (Canadian) https://caddac.ca/adhd/
- CHADD (American) https://chadd.org/
Family ADHD Coach Laureen