June 2023 Newsletter – Supporting Individuals with ADHD: Diagnostic Criteria of ADHD

Diagnostic Criteria of ADHD

If a person were to look at the list of diagnostic criteria below, they may conclude that all children have ADHD.  As a person who works with children, you likely understand that young people are an active bunch.  They fidget and forget things.  They make messes, interrupt, and have short attention spans.

As children develop, they strengthen the skills necessary to regulate their responses, focus their attention, and control their bodies. It is for this reason that most children are not diagnosed with ADHD until after the age of 5.  In addition to the symptoms below, doctors will attempt to evaluate the severity of the symptoms and how the symptoms impact home life, school performance, and the development of relationships.

Here are the criteria used to diagnose a person with ADHD – For more information visit CHADD.org.

ADHD predominantly inattentive presentation

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Does not appear to listen
  • Struggles to follow through with instructions
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Loses things
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful in daily activities

ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair
  • Has difficulty remaining seated
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in children; extreme restlessness in adults
  • Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
  • Acts as if driven by a motor; adults will often feel inside as if they are driven by a motor
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns
  • Interrupts or intrudes upon others

ADHD combined presentation

  • The individual meets the criteria for both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presentations.

Remember, only medical professionals are qualified to make a diagnosis of ADHD.  As an early childhood educator, it is your job to document observations, share information with families and doctors, and set up learning environments that help children thrive.

For the main article Supporting Individuals with ADHD, CLICK HERE

For the article Setting up the Learning Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Strengthening Specific Skills, CLICK HERE

For the article Supporting Adults with ADHD, CLICK HERE