What is ADHD?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that is usually diagnosed in childhood and can extend to teen years and adulthood. Individuals with ADHD find it hard to keep sustained attention and control impulsive behaviours (i.e., they may act without thinking). 

Persons with ADHD also exhibit excessive fidgetiness and hyperactivity making it hard for them to study and socialize. “Although there is no cure for ADHD”, as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explained, “currently available treatments may help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. ADHD is commonly treated with medication, education or training, therapy, or a combination of treatments.”

Stephen Tonti does not regard ADHD as a disorder but rather a difference in cognition and he made a convincing point in defense of his argument. Watch his TED talk to learn more.

What are the symptoms of ADHD symptoms?

Individuals with ADHD, according to the Mental Institute of Mental Health,  experience one or all of the three types of symptoms:

Inattention: having difficulty paying attentionHyperactivity: having excessive energy and move and talk a lotImpulsivity: having difficult with self-control and often act without thinking

Sings of inattention may include:

As the NIMH 

“Not paying close attention to details or making seemingly careless mistakes in schoolwork or during other activitiesDifficulty sustaining attention in play and tasks, including conversations, tests, or lengthy assignmentsTrouble listening closely when spoken to directlyFinding it hard to follow through on instructions or to finish schoolwork or chores, or starting tasks but losing focus and getting easily sidetrackedDifficulty organizing tasks and activities, such as doing tasks in sequence, keeping materials and belongings in order, managing time, and meeting deadlinesAvoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as homeworkLosing things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school supplies, books, eyeglasses, and cell phonesBeing easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuliBeing forgetful during daily activities, such as chores, errands, and keeping appointments.”

Signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity may include:

NIMH outlined the following as among the signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity:
“Fidgeting and squirming while seatedGetting up and moving around when expected to stay seated, such as in a classroomRunning, dashing around, or climbing at inappropriate times or, in teens, often feeling restlessBeing unable to play or engage in hobbies quietlyBeing constantly in motion or on the go and/or acting as if driven by a motorTalking excessivelyAnswering questions before they are fully asked or finishing other people’s sentencesHaving difficulty waiting one’s turn, such as when standing in lineInterrupting or intruding on others, for example, in conversations, games, or activities.”

Strategies to manage ADHD symptoms

NIMH offers some useful tips to help manage ADHD symptoms. These include:
“Get regular exercise, especially when they seem hyperactive or restless.Eat regular, healthy meals.Get plenty of sleep.Stick to a routine.Use homework and notebook organizers to write down assignments and reminders.Take medications as directed.”

What does ADHD iceberg mean?

An iceberg is a large chunk of ice that floats in the ocean. Only a small part of the iceberg is visible but the larger section is submerged under water. The term iceberg is used in several idiomatic expressions most popular of which is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ which according the Merriam Webster means that only a tiny part of something (e.g., a problem or an issue) is known or divulged but the larger part is hidden or unknown.

ADHD is therefore an analogy which refers to the fact that individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder go through way more than what their exterior symptoms  show. In other words, ADHD inner experience is way bigger than what appears ‘above the water’.

More ADHD resources for teachers: