The Psychology of ADHD

Here’s a strong case for funding public education and maintaining school psychological assessments services:  The majority of children receive their earliest diagnostic testing for ADHD and LD at school and not from the family pediatricians and mental health services before entering school.

The American Psychiatric Association DSM IV-TR reports that 3% to 7% of school age children have Attention Deficit Disorder.  This writer ascribes to genetics,environmental conditions, brain injury, premature delivery and low birth weight as potential causes of ADHD. Within a child’s social environment, this writer also believe that family environmental exposure filled with abuse and lack of structure, criminal behavior or socially inappropriate exposure are contributors to ADHD.

Prevalence of Diagnosis and medication Treatment for ADHD Among Children Aged 4-17 Years - United States, 2003

The more general definition of ADHD centers around a persons inability to pay attention and maintain focus on one specific event.  It is not unusual for individuals with ADHD to act before thinking and in some instances to be overactive as well.  According to The Center for Disease Control there are at least three levels of ADHD:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
  • Combined Type: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.
The reported rate of cases in low income homes throughout the United States on average is about 10% higher than homes of middle and upper income families according to the August 2011 Consumer Report News on Health.
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