Picture of two students looking at a computer screen. Picture of a professor with a computer teaching a small group of students. Picture of a student working at a laptop.

ADHD Module

Overview

It is common for most individuals to experience occasions of distractibility and procrastination; however, for those with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), the inability to stay on task is persistent and pervasive. Image of male student with PCAD/HD is a syndrome that affects the executive function capacities of the brain as evidenced by people with ADHD lower performance on tasks that required sustained attention (Tucha et al., 2009). Executive functions are a set of cognitive controls that regulate basic abilities, such as attention, memory, and motor skills (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2008). For most individuals, executive function operations occur automatically (Brown, 2005). However, “if the person’s neural networks for executive functions are impaired, as they are in [individuals with AD/HD], then that individual is likely to be proportionally impaired in the management of a wide range of cognitive functions regardless of how much he or she may wish otherwise” (Brown, 2005, p. 16). These impairments can manifest as problems of insufficient attention, excessive distractibility, procrastination, difficulties in organizing work, losing track of belongings, failure to finish tasks and assignments, and excessive forgetfulness in daily activities (Brown). Thus, AD/HD can best be conceptualized as a disorder in the management and organization of cognitive activities.

It is important to note that AD/HD is a life-long neurobiological condition that is generally diagnosed during childhood and continues to manifest symptoms throughout adulthood.

 

References

Brown, T. E. (2005). Attention deficit disorder: The unfocused mind in children and adults. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2008). Executive function fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.ldonline.org/article/24880

Tucha, L., Tucha, O., Walitza, S., Sontag, T., Laufkötter, R., Linder, M., & Lange, K. (2009). Vigilance and Sustained Attention in Children and Adults With ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12, 410-421.