ADHD series part I: buckle up-an intro to ADHD

My kids started school this week. They’ve been really excited, but even more distracted. On the first day of school it took us literally ten minutes to get seat belts on. Here’s how our conversation went Me: “Buckle Up”

Son: “Do you think they’ll have chocolate milk for lunch?”

Me: “That would be fun huh? You’ll have to tell me after school. Are you buckled up?”

Son: “After school I want to play the Wii, but I’ll still tell you about the chocolate milk.

Me: “Okay, we have to check your back pack, do reading time, speaking of which did you fill out your reading log? Please buckle up.”

Son: “Ahhh yeahhh, reading time. I want to read about Transformer Bots.

Me: “Great, it sounds like you’re ignoring me. Buckle up please.”

Son: “Okay…Where’s my seat belt?…and my shoes?”

Between my son and I, we’re lucky we made it to school the first day. Being distracted affects us and we definitely get side tracked A LOT, but does that make us candidates for ADHD or simply very distracted during a brief period of time?

It’s important to understand the difference. This post will review the criteria for a genuine ADHD diagnosis and unravel the myths from the facts.

First, take our quiz and see how well you know ADHD!

Here are the answers

1. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) suggests that 5% of children and adults have the full ADHD diagnosis, while the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that 11% of children and adults have the full ADHD diagnosis. (That is a 48% increase in the last 8 years)

2. ADD is now an outdated term. The DSM V (2013) lumped ADD and ADHD together. Professionals no longer distinguish between the two and simply refer to the entire diagnostic criteria as ADHD.

3. Boys are 3x times more likely to develop ADHD than girls. Boys often display external symptoms of ADHD such as being impulsive and physically aggressive. Girls however, often display internal symptoms such as being withdrawn, inattentive, or daydreaming. Some professionals suggest that boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls due to the external and noticeable nature of their behaviors, meaning that girls are more likely being under diagnosed.

4. FALSE. Children do not grow out of ADHD. However, when children are able to combine medicine with structure, they are able to become successful adults.

5. FALSE. There is no correlation between Ritalin and future drug use. However, there are several children and adults who take Ritalin as a prescribed medication who are self-described “thrill seekers” and “risk takers”. Research suggests that the “thrill seeking” personality type is highly indicative of future substance abuse.

6. TRUE Several great philosophers, artists, world leaders have had ADHD (examples from the quiz- JFK, Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin, Van Gogh, Mozart, Ralph Waldo Emerson-just to name a few)

7. TRUE There is no cure for ADHD. Simply meaning that there is no single cure that will relieve or eliminate ADHD symptoms permanently. However, the good news is that there are several very effective ways to treat ADHD. Future blog posts will review several treatment options for ADHD.


So how did you do? Did anything surprise you? One thing that stood out to me is that girls display ADHD behavioral symptoms differently than boys.

Fascinating, yet makes me commit to better understanding girls and their symptoms to do a better job as a professional helping girls who are going un-diagnosed.

Recent ADHD Research

ADHD Diagnosis criteria

According to the DSM-V, there are three core types of ADHD: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Below is a breakdown of ADHD symptoms and a few examples of what each symptom might look like in children.

Keep in mind, this is not a diagnostic tool. In order to accurately diagnose ADHD, please meet with a qualified physician.


  • Makes careless mistakes: this might look like turning in unfinished work or work that is missing major details
  • Has difficulty paying attention to tasks: easily bored with school, conversations, and lengthy readings
  • Seems to not listen when spoken to directly: mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of obvious distraction
  • Easily side tracked -Fails to follow through on instructions, schoolwork, or chores: starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked
  • Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities: messy room, disorganized work, poor time management
  • Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort: like schoolwork, homework and chores
  • Loses things like school materials and toys: if older, wallets, keys, eyeglasses, and cell phones


This blog series has a purpose

The purpose of this series is to educate, support and teach parents of ADHD children how to maximize their children’s abilities through the use of education and the social skills taught via the Teaching-Family Model. Learn more about the power of the Teaching-Family Model.

The Teaching-Family Model has helped thousands of children throughout the years improve focus and attention, improve organization, and increase concentration associated with finishing and completing projects. Check back a few times a week to see further posts on exercise, eating, games and implementing several evidenced-based techniques to treat ADHD.


ADHD series part I: Buckle up-an intro to ADHD

ADHD series part II: helping parents understand the ADHD diagnosis

ADHD series part III: An ADHD treatment regimen that works

ADHD series part IV: Preventive Teaching and intrinsic motivation

ADHD series part V: “What are you eating?” the ADHD/food connection

ADHD series part VI: Exercise-the other ADHD medication

ADHD series part VII: Improve ADHD by understanding emotional intelligence

ADHD series part VIII: Your inattentive child lost in the crowd

ADHD series part IX: Raising an ADHD generation

5 Ways to Help Your ADHD Child Calm Down

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