ADD Does NOT Exist! And I Can Prove It…
Let’s get the most important fact straight right now…ADD, as an official term, has been UNofficial for 20 years. Yikes! So why do end hear about “ADD”, and it’s full-form name Attention Deficit Disorder, so often?
So…yeah…I’m not really sure why the outdated term is still used. If anyone has any answers or theories to this question, please share.
What I do know is that the American Psychiatric Association changed ADD to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) in 1994 because they felt ADHD, as a name and a framework, better describes the range of symptoms seen in kids. Many children struggle to stay focused, but they quietly daydream and therefore fly under the radar of teachers and parents. The “newer” description under ADHD helps us recognize these children, not just the wild kid making a ruckus.
In a nutshell, ADHD is a pattern of behavior that is present in multiple settings and negatively impacts a child’s performance/achievement. (This was the subject of last week’s blog and video.)
There are 3 subtypes of ADHD:
- Inattentive – this describes the children (or adults) who “space out”, daydream and end up with gaping holes in their knowledge; these children are often not diagnosed right away because they are not loud or fidgety, so they don’t draw much negative attention from their parents or teachers
- Hyperactive – this describes the stereotypical child with ADHD…yelling out, fidgety, making impulsive decisions, unable to settle in and focus…think Steve-O from the t.v. show ‘Jackss’
- Combined – this describes the children who show symptoms of both of the above
I bring up “ADD vs. ADHD” not just to be the grammar police, but because using the same language and understanding the subtypes of ADHD is important if we are to help our children. Knowing the challenges and strengths discussed under the framework of ADHD helps us design instruction that is best for students; for example, adding movement breaks during a child’s high- or low-energy times will help their learning.
Roughly 9% of our school-aged children are diagnosed with ADHD, which means millions of families need the most accurate information.