Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Definition of ADHD

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  • 0:05 Understanding ADHD
  • 0:36 Common Characteristics of ADHD
  • 2:17 Teaching Strategies
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Valerie Houghton, Ph.D.

Valerie holds a Ph.D. in Health Psychology.

This lesson explores common characteristics of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as the best practices for teaching learners with this disorder.

Understanding ADHD

What does Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, have in common with President Bill Clinton and the actor Justin Timberlake? That's right; they all were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM, ADHD is both a psychiatric and neurobehavioral disorder. This disorder is characterized by significant difficulties with inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsiveness.

Common Characteristics of ADHD

Both boys and girls can have ADHD, although it is three times more common in boys. The characteristics of ADHD vary from child to child, but the three most consistent characteristics are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity .

Not all children with ADHD display each of these three aspects nor do they have the same degree of each.

Varying degrees of ADHD characteristics
ADHD Characteristics Spectrum Illustration

For example, an ADHD student could show signs of inattention and impulsivity while not being hyperactive. Let's take a look at the specifics of each of these three characteristics.

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