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ADHD and Its Implications

by Dr. Richard Komm, Llc. Psychologist (CA. and AZ.)
Although ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder) is the "standard" way of describing this problem area, it should be recognized that, to some degree, this title may be a "misnomer" since not all attention-deficit problems consist of hyperactivity. In point of fact, hyperactivity is only one of three major variables involved in ADHD. The "pillars" which define this problem, actually consist not only of the (previously mentioned) hyperactivity, but also impulsivity, and last, but certainly not least, inattention.

Thus, it is quite possible for an individual to have an attention deficit problem but not necessarily demonstrate either hyperactivity or impulsivity in their behavioral makeup. Indeed, they may merely find it hard to maintain focus and concentration on a particular academic (or other) task at hand (particularly when the amount of sustained concentration is further built upon multiple requirements or task demands). This is the reason why many teachers will dismiss the notion of Attention Deficit Disorder in a pupil, since the student in question does not necessarily display either hyperactivity or impulsivity, but merely finds it hard to focus and remain "on target" (as teachers are wont to say).

ADHD was initially defined early in the last century, but it was then labeled a syndrome (i.e., group of symptoms) that, together, comprises what was called the "Hyperkinetic Syndrome of Childhood." Although it is true that boys far outnumber girls in displaying such behaviors, we now know that this condition lasts for a lifetime and in many ways is "carried over" to the workplace, as well as the home environment, showing itself in many ways relative to organization, task accomplishment, and similar demands made on the adult in the workplace or at home.

Although ADHD is usually first diagnosed within the classroom (since students are under direct observation by a teacher for prolonged periods of time during the day), a primary reason that ADHD is less noted in the adult is that it can be "masked" to a considerably greater degree by extra effort (and time) expended by the motivated adult in mastering the then-current work assignment. Moreover, by adulthood, the afflicted individual has adopted a number of "shortcuts" that can be effective (to some degree) in reducing the more obvious signs or symptoms of this group of problem behaviors.

It must also be indicated that ADHD is not a "one size fits all" group of symptoms, so that the student or other individual may find learning disabilities or, even more likely, processing problems "link themselves" to this syndrome, since ADHD problems are likely to interfere with the visual and auditory discrimination necessary to process incoming verbal or visual stimuli (reception). They may not easily connect to a central process involving previously learned or experienced data that can be recalled (memory) and then combined into an effective means of transmitting this message to others (expression). Such phenomena are often affected by ADHD behaviors that can be highly productive of processing difficulties which could, in turn, directly affect the learning process in its broadest form.

Similarly, ADHD may be combined with various learning problems that include difficulties in reading (dyslexia), mathematics (dyscalculia), or written expression (dysgraphia). Since ADHD does, in most cases, exist throughout the individual's lifespan, those who live and work with ADHD-affected individuals need to be aware of the many ways this group of behaviors can affect one's life and mood on a day-to-day basis.

There are many books and articles written on ADHD and living with an ADHD-affected individual. It must also be recognized that this syndrome that may include either administration of various medications (particularly in the younger years), but also can be helped through development of various habit patterns that emphasize short-term "steps" necessary to accomplish various goals.

The need to clearly delineate one's steps in producing a school or work project is important. Moreover various emotional factors that may arise from the consequences of ADHD should be "talked out" with family members (either directly in a prearranged setup or through counseling services).

The importance of understanding this condition cannot be overemphasized since in its more benign form (i.e., where inattention is the primary process affecting one's behavior) ADHD can often be overlooked or undiagnosed in such individuals. Clearly, in general behavior, one does not necessarily (or directly) observe ADHD but rather infer the process by a series of actions (or inactions) on the part of the afflicted individual. The need to reexamine this series of behaviors from its broadest standpoint, therefore, remains important, particularly in those who live with ADHD-involved individuals.

Dr. Richard A. Komm
Llc. Psychologist (CA. and AZ.)
Registrant, Natl. Register, Health Svc. Providers in Psychology.
Credentialed School Psychologist

Tel: (602) 870-3162

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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