The American Psychiatric Association (2000) provides the diagnostic for ADHD. This diagnostic is provided when there are more than 6 symptoms, some of which must be present before the age 7 and it must cause significant impairment for 6 months in home and school, or home and work. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disability in which children consistently show one or more of the following characteristics over a period of time;
(1) Inattention, (2) hyperactivity, and (3) impulsivity.
Children who are inattentive have difficulty focusing on any one thing and may get bored with a task after only a few minutes and, ADHD children are usually distracted and made inattentive by an over stimulating environment such as a large classroom (Adams, G. L.1984). They are also inattentive when a situation is low-key or dull. Some experts believe that certain parts of the brain in ADHD children may be underactive, so the children fail to be aroused by non stimulating activities. In contrast, they may exhibit a kind of "super concentration" to a highly stimulating activity such as a video game or a highly specific interest. Such children may even become over-attentive so absorbed in a project that they cannot modify or change the direction of their attention. Children who are hyperactive show high levels of physical activity, almost always seeming to be in motion. The term hyperactive is often confusing since, for some, it suggests a child racing around non-stop. Children who are diagnosed with ADHD have a very difficult time adapting to even minor changes in routines, such as getting up in the morning, putting on shoes, eating new foods, or going to bed. Any shift in a situation can precipitate a strong and noisy negative response. Even when they are in a good mood, they may suddenly shift into a tantrum if met with an unexpected change or frustration. In one experiment, ADHD children could closely focus their attention when directly cued to a specific location, but they had difficulty shifting their attention to an alternative location. Also ADHD children are often hypersensitive to sights, sounds, and touch. (Campbell, S. B., & Ewing, L. J. 1990). They usually complain excessively about stimuli that seem low key or weak to others. Sleeping problems usually occur well after the point when most small children sleep through the night. In one study, sixty three percent of children with ADHD had trouble sleeping.
A boy with ADHD playing a game; for instance, may have the same level of activity as another child without the syndrome. But when a high demand is placed on the ADHD child's attention, his brain motor activity intensifies beyond the levels of the other children. In a busy environment, such as a classroom or a crowded store, ADHD children often become distracted and react by pulling items off the shelves, hitting people, or spinning out of control into erratic, silly, or strange behavior. Children who are impulsive have difficulty curbing their reactions and don’t do a good job of thinking before they act (Kirst, Ashman, K. 2006). Even before the "terrible two's," impulsive behavior is often apparent. One of the most painful events a parent may experience is an abrupt and aggressive attack that may occur