The major symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. But, as parents of children with ADHD already know, these three symptoms are only part of the story. There is no part of a child’s life that is not impacted by ADHD. At one time, ADHD was considered to be a school day disorder, affecting mostly a child’s performance in school settings. As more and more is learned about this disorder, it is understood that ADHD permeates every aspect of a child’s life. Characteristics such as forgetfulness and disorganization cause problems at home as well as in school. Secondary symptoms such as low self-esteem, aggressiveness and emotional immaturity play a major role in how a child and family adapt to ADHD being part of daily life.
Although children with ADHD often struggle in school, it does not have anything to do with intelligence. The range of IQ for students with ADHD has been shown to be the same as students without ADHD.
ADHD is not a learning disability; however, it can cause difficulties in learning. In addition, children with ADHD have a higher incidence rate of learning disabilities and can have problems with math and reading. Some studies have indicated that as many as 50% of children with ADHD may also have a learning disability.
Disorganization, forgetfulness and losing items are also major problems for students with ADHD. Keeping track of projects, remembering homework assignments and tests are all frequent complaints of students with ADHD. They find it difficult to keep track of all the important information needed to manage their studies.
Inattention, a major symptom of ADHD, can cause students to miss details when a teacher is speaking, when homework assignments are giving or when other students are talking. A student with ADHD tends to pay attention to everything that is going on around them rather than being able to focus on one task.
Hyperactivity creates problems with sitting still through class. Students are expected to remain seated for extended periods of time and as they get older, sitting for longer periods is necessary. Hyperactivity, however, doesn’t go away and this continues to cause problems throughout the school years.