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Treating Distracted & Impulsive ADHD Children
10 CEUs Treating Distracted & Impulsive ADHD Children

Section 1
Assessing ADHD Symptoms in Children

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Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

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New Content Added: To update the content we have added LD Strategies, ADHD Assessment, and Goal Attainment Scaling information found at the end of the Table of Contents.

I realize you are all too familiar with the eight common symptoms of ADHD, but I felt it might be beneficial to make sure we are all on the same theoretical page regarding ADHD diagnosis. As I explain briefly each of the eight symptoms, have a client in mind and make a mental checklist as to the symptoms he or she is exhibiting and the therapeutic strategy you are using. Even though this course deals with Attention Deficit Disorder in children, I would like to use this track to compare and contrast eight common ADHD symptoms in children and adults.

The eight common ADHD symptoms we will be comparing and contrasting children with adults are: inattention, impulsivity, difficulty delaying gratification, emotional overarousal, hyperactivity, noncompliance, social problems, and disorganization.

8 Common Symptoms

Symptom #1 - Inattention
Regarding the first common symptom, inattention, clients with ADHD will often find themselves having trouble concentrating on many things. As you know, inattention may hurt adults with ADHD at work, where they may not be able to finish as much as they would like to. At home, inattention may be the reason adults don’t stay on top of household chores. For children with ADHD, the situation is similar: they may not be able to complete schoolwork or manage their responsibilities at home.

The day can seem like an endless series of frustrations. However, this inattention can also frustrate ADHD clients in social situations where many conversations are occurring. The person with ADHD will likely have difficulty following the conversation to which they are supposed to be paying attention.

Symptom #2 - Impulsivity
The second common ADHD symptom, impulsivity, is often not as apparent in adults with ADHD as it is in children with ADHD. People with ADHD may have a tendency to interrupt, blurt things out, or yell in conversation. Sound familiar?

Symptom #3 - Difficulty Delaying Gratification
The third common symptom, difficulty delaying gratification, is related to the ADHD client’s sense of impatience and frustration stimulated by having to wait and think. For children with ADHD, difficulty delaying gratification often causes them to have trouble finding the patience for academic tasks. Adults with ADHD may display the difficulty delaying gratification symptom by lacking the patience to balance a check book, file a tax return, or pay the bills.

Symptom #4 - Emotional Overarousal
In addition to inattention, impulsivity, and difficulty delaying gratification, the fourth symptom of ADHD is emotional overarousal. For ADHD children, emotional overarousal is primarily manifested in hyper-silly routines and ferocious tempers. Once they have become adults, the hyper-silly routine is less common. However, ADHD adults often still struggle with their tempers. Sound like a client of yours?

Symptom #5 - Hyperactivity
The fifth common symptom of ADHD is hyperactivity. As you are aware, hyperactivity is commonly displayed in children and adults with ADHD by a tendency to fidget and move around a lot. However, hyperactivity can also take a verbal form. ADHD clients may have rapid, non-stop speech, and they may not be very good listeners. As you know, some clients are ADHD but not HD. In the next track we will talk about these idiosyncratic patterns.

Symptom #6 - Noncompliance
The sixth common symptom of ADHD, noncompliance, is simply a problem with following rules. Children with ADHD may be easier to spot by the noncompliance symptom because there are often more rules for them to break. I have noticed that in adults with ADHD, noncompliance is less obvious because they don’t often have others telling them what to do as much. However, they may have difficulty with supervision in the workplace. Supervision often stirs up "anti-parent" antagonisms from their childhoods.

Symptom #7 - Social Problems
The seventh common symptom of ADHD is social problems. Children with ADHD may struggle to make friends and get along with peers. By the time they are adults, people with ADHD have generally given up on creating and maintaining long lasting relationships. The social problems are often caused by other symptoms of ADHD: temper, talkativeness, and restlessness, for example. Social problems will also be dealt with in detail on the next track as an idiosyncratic, unique pattern.

Symptom #8 - Disorganization
Finally, the eighth common symptom of ADHD is disorganization. In children with ADHD, disorganization is often noticed through schoolwork. For ADHD adults, disorganization is manifested in their difficulty keeping track of dates, times, and appointments. For both children and adults with ADHD, their memory can be amazingly erratic. They may often have a number of projects that were started and never completed. Sound like a client of yours?

On this track... we have talked about the eight common symptoms of ADHD. The eight common symptoms are inattention, impulsivity, difficulty delaying gratification, emotional overarousal, hyperactivity, noncompliance, social problems, and disorganization.

On the next track, we will discuss the five Idiosyncratic, Unique Patterns of children with ADHD. The five Idiosyncratic, Unique patterns of children with ADHD are good social skills, a high IQ, shyness, no siblings or one-on-one preschool situation with parents, and ADHD without hyperactivity. We will also talk about the misdiagnosis of ADHD for Learning Disabled.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Arias, V. B., Ponce, F. P., Martínez-Molina, A., Arias, B., & Núñez, D. (2016). General and specific attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder factors of children 4 to 6 years of age: An exploratory structural equation modeling approach to assessing symptom multidimensionality. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(1), 125–137.

"Neurophysiological factors associated with cognitive deficits in children with ADHD symptoms: EEG and neuropsychological analysis": Correction to Machinskaya et al. (2014) (2015). Psychology & Neuroscience, 8(4), 434.

Patros, C. H. G., Tarle, S. J., Alderson, R. M., Lea, S. E., & Arrington, E. F. (Mar 2019). Planning deficits in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A meta-analytic review of tower task performance. Neuropsychology, 33(3), 425-44.

Pelham, W. E. III, Page, T. F., Altszuler, A. R., Gnagy, E. M., Molina, B. S. G., & Pelham, W. E., Jr. (2020). The long-term financial outcome of children diagnosed with ADHD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88(2), 160–171.

Smith, Z. R., Eadeh, H.-M., Breaux, R. P., & Langberg, J. M. (2019). Sleepy, sluggish, worried, or down? The distinction between self-reported sluggish cognitive tempo, daytime sleepiness, and internalizing symptoms in youth with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychological Assessment, 31(3), 365–375.

What are the eight common symptoms of ADHD? To select and enter your answer go to Test


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