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What is ADHD? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Millions of people around the world have ADHD. In this lesson, learn what ADHD is, how people are diagnosed, and ways that people can manage ADHD in order to have successful lives.

Let's Meet Daniel

Daniel is an elementary student who loves to laugh and have fun. He likes to play video games and go outside, but he doesn't stick with any activity for a very long time. At school, sometimes it is hard for him to sit still for a long period of time. He tries to focus on what the teacher is saying, but he often gets distracted. It can be difficult for him to complete his assignments because he struggles to concentrate. These daily activities are tough for Daniel because he has ADHD, a condition known as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Students with ADHD often struggle to sit still and concentrate on classroom assignments.
classroom

What the Letters Mean

To find out what ADHD is, let's look at what each letter stands for. The letter A stands for attention, and the D stands for deficit. A deficit is when someone has too little of something. Daniel has a deficit of attention, because he cannot pay attention for a long amount of time. His attention level is too small.

The H stands for hyperactivity. This means that someone is extremely active. Remember how Daniel has a hard time sitting still for a long time? This is because he needs to move and be active frequently. Finally, the last D stands for disorder. This means that if someone has ADHD, their body is not working exactly as it should. It sounds a little scary, but there are ways that people with ADHD can manage their disorder.

Reading for a long period of time might be difficult for someone who has ADHD.
student

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

There are several steps to getting an ADHD diagnosis. A diagnosis is when a doctor determines that you officially have an illness or disorder. First, a doctor will do a physical examination and check someone's hearing and eyesight. They will also ask questions to make sure that the problems are not coming from an outside reason, like a stressful event.

The doctor may recommend that a patient see a special doctor, and they may also ask for people close to the patient answer questions about the type of behavior they notice. Family members and friends may be able to give important information to the doctor. Since teachers are often the first ones to notice that there may be a problem, they are also able to give information as well.

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