Monday, January 25, 2010

Topic 1

Topic 1

Holly Tetreault

Emotional and Behavioral Disorders


The Basics

The Encyclopedia of Psychology, as adapted by the American Psychological Association (2010), defines Attention Hyper-Activity Disorder (ADHD) as a behavioral condition in which children and adults are impulsive, active, and often unable to maintain attention. For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD they will have six or more symptoms from a list of nine. The symptoms must be present for more than six months. The National Institute for Mental Health (2009) lists symptoms such as hyperactivity: fidgeting, consistent talking, constant movement, and difficulty doing calm and quiet activities. According to (2009), information on the behavior will be collected from various people who know the child including parents, teachers, coaches, relatives, or childcare providers. Your child’s physician may recommend seeing a psychologist. Only a doctor or psychologist can diagnose ADHD.

For information on strategies to help students diagnosed with ADHD please visit the Department of Education Website to view and download the booklet created in 2003 for the sole purpose of helping educators and parents learn to work with their children better.

Federal Policies and Legislation

The first thing parents and educators should understand is that having a diagnosis of ADHD does not guarantee a child special education services. However, there are two ways in which they can qualify for support. (2001) states that students may qualify under Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law, or under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Section 504 provides students with additional education support in the general education classroom. This law prevents students from being discriminated against due to any differing abilities. IDEA requires a student to be evaluated and if they fit into one of the 13 categories of disabilities they qualify. In order for a student to qualify their diagnosis of ADHD would have to affect the student’s performance in school. ADHD often falls under other health impairments (OHI), emotional disturbance (ED), or a specific learning disability (LD).

DSM IV Definitions and Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control (2009), uses the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) to ensure that people are consistent in their diagnosing of ADHD. They list six symptoms of ADHD that children must have for at least six months in order to be diagnosed as a student with ADHD. These symptoms must be inappropriate and disruptive than a typically developing peer.

Hyperactivity symptoms include:

Students who fidget at inappropriate times.

Students who frequently leave their seat.

Students who run and move frequently and without control.

Students who have trouble playing quietly.

Students who constantly move.

Students who talk excessively.

Terms to Know

Terms are from (2010).

ADHD- Attention Hyper-Activity Disorder

Hyperactivity- Having highly or excessively active behavior.

IDEA- law that guarantees services for students with disabilities through and IEP.

IEP- individualized education plan

Impulsiveness- Inclined to act on impulse rather than thought.

Neurological- Brain functions.

Pharmacological- The science of drugs, including their composition, uses and effects.

Section 504- the law that prohibits the discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

Stimulant- a drug that temporarily quickens central nervous system function.

Websites to See

Some of these websites were used to create this page, others are helpful tips and advice for parents and educators.

Additional Resources

These are groups and organizations that help families with children and adults with ADHD.


Kazdin, A. E. (2000). American Psychological Association. ADHD. Retrieved from

National Institute for Mental Health (2009). National Institute for Mental Health. ADHD. Retrieved from

American Academy of Physicians (2009). Family Doctor. ADHD. Retrieved from

Public Broadcasting System (2001). PBS-Frontline, Medicating Kids. Federal Laws Pertaining to ADHD Diagnosed Children. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control (2009). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attention Defecit-Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved from

ADHD News (2008). ADHD News. Glossary. Retrieved from


  1. Wow! What a thorough definition and set of resources? Now I should know the answer to this question, but can a student qualify for special services academically strictly based on being an ADHD child, even if they don't have any academic needs.

  2. Nope. Under the federal legislation section the first sentence states that a child is not guaranteed services based on a diagnosis. There are 2 ways they can qualify though but its based on how the diagnosis affects their performance in school.