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ADHD Verification & Postsecondary

by Siobhan Shier
  • Overview

    ADHD is found in children as well as adults.
    ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning it occurs in brains that have not developed normally and have been impaired in their growth. Three to 5 percent of children have ADHD, and though it is a chronic condition, many adults develop a method for coping with the issues it presents. Verifying whether or not a child has ADHD is a difficult process, but necessary if that child is going to receive the attention and tools that he needs when it comes to post-secondary education.
  • Symptoms

    The first step towards an official verification of ADHD is to notice the first symptoms. They present as hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention--fairly normal things for a young child. What makes a child with ADHD different, is that these problems are much worse than other children, and the behaviors do not improve as the child matures. For a child affected with ADHD, personal, work and educational work and relationships are severely influenced.
    A child with ADHD may have trouble making friends or keeping up his grades.
  • Subtypes

    There are three different types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive or a combination of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. The predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD is the one most often spotted by teachers or parents because of the extremity of the behavior. A predominately inattentive child might be overlooked in a classroom or at home because of the quieter nature of the problem.
    A child afflicted with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD is easier to spot than one with inattentive ADHD.
  • Neuroimaging

    Neuroimaging is one way to verify if a person has ADHD. The National Institute of Mental Health has shown that people with ADHD show a specific difference in the frontal regions of the brain. However, as interesting and informative as a brain scan is, it is not the normal standardized method of verifying if a child has ADHD.
    A brain scan is useful for understanding ADHD.
  • Official Verification

    ADHD has to be verified by a licensed psychiatrist. It involves observing the child for six or more months in two different settings, and seeing symptoms that clearly differentiate the child from her peers. ADHD is included in the American Psychiatric Society's Diagnostic and Staticians Manual (DSM) but because ADHD is such a hard to identify disorder there is constant debate and discussion on the exact diagnostic criteria that should be used.
    ADHD is verified with official observation by a psychiatrist over a significant portion of time and multiple locations.
  • Postsecondary

    A postsecondary education is entirely possible for a person with ADHD. Some governments, such as the United States, have specific aids put in place for students with ADHD, such as unlimited time allowances and solitary environments when it comes to taking tests. To get access to these aids, a student has to have an official diagnosis of ADHD. Even without the chance of official assistance, an adult postsecondary student can benefit from a diagnosis as adults are more able to understand the limitations that the condition presents, and find ways around the problems it presents.
    ADHD does not mean a student cannot complete a postsecondary education.

    References & Resources