ADHD: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adults

By Paul H. Wender | Go to book overview

2 The Characteristics of Children
with Attention-Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder

The task of describing the characteristics of children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is in some ways a difficult one. The attributes are not unusual, but many of the symptoms are present in all children and adults to some degree at some particular time. Consequently, the parents reading this chapter are apt to conclude that all their children have ADHD. Before beginning, therefore, let me emphasize that the characteristics listed are not abnormal in themselves; they are only abnormal when they are excessive. What characterizes ADHD children is the intensity, the persistence, and the patterning of these symptoms. In this chapter I will also discuss other disorders that often occur in children with ADHD. This is important because they require different therapeutic approaches. Among the learning disorders are those associated with the areas of reading, spelling, or math. Studies have shown that somewhere between 20 to 30 percent of ADHD children have learning disorders. Among the psychological disorders are those classified as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD). Studies performed in clinics (where children are often referred by schools and social agencies) indicate that about 35 percent of ADHD children have ODD, and more than 25 percent have CD. Clinics are more likely to see severe cases of ADHD, however. Among ADHD children brought to pri

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