- Learning Objectives
- Historical Perspective
- Description and Characteristics of AD/HD
- Diagnostic Features and Subtypes of AD/HD
- Trends and Prevalence
- Treatment for AD/HD
- Learning Challenges at the Postsecondary Level
- Accommodations for Students with AD/HD at the Postsecondary Level
- Perception and Myths
Diagnostic Features and Subtypes of AD/HD
Diagnostic Criterion A refers to the following:
Either (1) or (2):
- six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
- often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
- often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
- often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
- often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
- is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- is often forgetful in daily activities
- six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
- often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
- often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
- often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
- often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
- often talks excessively
- often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- often has difficulty awaiting turn
- often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
Although many individuals present with symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, there are individuals in whom one or the other pattern is predominant. The appropriate subtype should be indicated based on the predominant symptom pattern for the past 6 months.
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Combined Type
This subtype should be used if six (or more) symptoms of inattention and six (or more) symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for the past 6 months.
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type
This subtype should be used if six (or more) symptoms of inattention (but fewer than six symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity) have persisted for the past six months.
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
This subtype should be used if six (or more) symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity (but fewer than six symptoms of inattention) have persisted for the past six months.
The diagnosis of AD/HD is complicated. Currently, a critical diagnostic test for the syndrome does not exist. This lack of an objective test reflects the complex nature of AD/HD and the interactions of the symptoms with the environment (Goldstein & Naglieri, 2008). A trained medical or psychology professional will make the diagnosis of AD/HD generally using a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment (Byron & Parker, 2002). These assessments usually include a detailed history of presenting attention related problems, intellectual assessments, indicators of executive functioning, and observations, and can include reports from parents, teachers, and self-reports. While many colleges and universities have comprehensive guidelines for documentation to verify AD/HD, some only require results from the DSM-IV checklist or a doctor’s note to confirm the diagnosis of AD/HD (Byron & Parker).
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Byron, J., & Parker, D. R. (2002). College students with ADHD: New challenges and directions. In L. C. Brinckerhoff, J. M. McGuire, & S. F. Shaw (Eds.), Postsecondary education and transition for students with learning disabilities (pp. 335-387). Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
Goldstein, S., & Naglieri, J. (2008). The school neuropsychology of ADHD: Theory, assessment, and intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 45(9), 859-874.