ADHD: One Disorder, Three Types
While it’s common for people to assume that all children with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are universally fidgety, rambunctious, and excessively hyper, this is often not the case. ADHD, which is the modern term for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), is a complex neurological disorder that can manifest in three distinct types: ADHD Inattentive Type, ADHD Hyperactive Type, and ADHD Combined Type. The latter two categories, in which hyperactivity is dominant, can lead to more serious issues for students with ADHD.
An Overview of the Types of ADHD
Children who are diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive Type do face their own challenges. They have a difficult time focusing on tasks and are often disorganized. It usually takes longer for these children to understand information and instructions, which can lead to poor classroom performance and frustration with homework and tests. Typically, people who have ADHD Inattentive Type do not engage in disruptive behavior that leads to emotional and social problems.
In contrast, children who are affected by ADHD Hyperactive Type or Combined Type are usually viewed more negatively by peers and adults. They display poor impulse control, have extreme difficulty in sitting still, and are often loud and aggressive. Hyperactive children have a very poor grasp of social boundaries and personal space, which leads to problems in developing and maintaining friendships. Frequently viewed as the “classroom troublemaker”, a child with ADHD Hyperactive Type is at risk for exhibiting serious behavioral issues in the teenage and adult years. ADHD Combined Type is more challenging yet, with both inattentive and hyperactive traits presenting in the child.
Help For the Hyperactive Child
While ADHD is a permanent condition, there are several treatments and methods that can keep hyperactivity in children at a manageable level. Stimulant medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall, have proven to be very effective in reducing the impulsive traits exhibited by children with ADHD Hyperactive Type or Combined Type. These stimulants work by increasing neurotransmitter activity in sections of the brain that control impulse and concentration. Some students with ADHD benefit from a special diet that is free of refined sugars and dyes. Exercise and sports, which provide a safe outlet for physical activity, are frequently encouraged. Parents, teachers, and peers can also do their part by offering praise, support, and positive reinforcement.
Anyone interacting with children diagnosed with ADHD should understand the differences in the types as children may display strikingly different manners. Hyperactive children require a large amount of patience and understanding in order to achieve success in school.