Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) - General Overview


ADHD is a condition characterized by inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity which begins in childhood, and is seen at home and at school or child care, and is interfering with function at school and home or in the community. 


There is no blood test or definitive medical test for diagnosis.  Therefore, diagnosis is made by behavioral observation, using the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition.  Diagnosis is usually made by a child’s primary care physician, or by a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, or nurse practitioner, who will gather information about behavior in home, community, and school. 

Signs of Inattention:

Wandering, off task, lacking persistence, having trouble with focus, and/or disorganization. 

Signs of Hyperactivity:

Running/high motor activity when not appropriate; excessive fidgeting, tapping, and/or talking.

Signs of Impulsivity:

hasty actions taken before thinking of results (darting in street, interrupting, can’t wait for something)

Associated Features:

Low frustration tolerance, irritability, mood changes, planning or memory issues, problems with school or job performance. 

How Many People Have ADHD

ADHD affects approximately 5 out of every 100  typically developing children, and up to 3 out of 100 adults. Boys are more commonly affected.  Girls more often have the inattentive type. ADHD  is more commonly seen in children with developmental diagnoses such as: autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disability, genetic syndromes, cerebral palsy, or in combination with language, motor and speech delays

Associated Developmental and Learning Issues

Some children with ADHD have more difficulty learning language, academic skills, and social skills.

Associated Behavioral Conditions

Some, but not all, children with ADHD have other behavioral challenges such as:

  • Oppositional behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Tics
  • Tantrums

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