Pandemic or overdiagnosing?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, there is no specific scientific cause for the disorder. There is evidence that genetics does contribute in the development of the disorder; three out of four children with ADHD have relatives with the disorder. Other factors that also contribute to the development of the disorder might be, but is not limited to, premature birth, brain injury, extreme stress or use of alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy.
The average age of diagnosis is eight years old. Since ADHD is a physiological condition, research supports the idea that ADHD is present since birth but difficult to diagnose with its symptoms before age five.
See description to the right.
ADHD affects up to 1 in 20 children in the USA. There is no strong consensus about the prevalence of ADHD in the world, but evidence suggests that the prevalence of ADHD is greater in males than females.
co-morbidity: adhd along with other disorders
As presented in the DSM 5 Diagnostic Criteria, ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
Recent research has led to some academics moving away from classifying ADHD as a behavioral disorder, observing that many diagnosed with ADHD do not experience any behavioral issues, while for many the symptoms extend far beyond what is outlined in the DSMV5. Instead, many are reclassifying ADHD as a cognitive issue rooted in Executive Function Disorder.
ADHD and Executive Function
The following six clusters of executive functions tend to be impaired in individuals with ADHD:
- Activation: organizing tasks and materials, estimating time, getting started
- Focus: focusing, sustaining focus, and shifting focus between tasks
- Effort: regulating alertness, sustaining effort and processing speed
- Emotion: managing frustration and modulating emotions
- Memory: using working memory and accessing recall
- Action: monitoring/ regulating actions
Executive functions are mediated primarily by the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for sending messages to the rest of the brain regarding what actions to take, why, and when. It is common for a person to have weaknesses is more than one area of executive function. It is also prevalent for areas of strength to co-exist alongside areas of executive functioning weakness.
Co-Morbidity & ADHD
Comorbidity of ADHD with other disorders is between 60% and 80%. Some of the common co-morbidities include:
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Learning Disorder
- Conduct Disorder
Twice Exceptionality (2e) and ADHD
“Twice Exceptional” is a term used to refer to individuals with one or more disabilities presenting alongside one or more exceptional strengths.
Some characteristics of gifted learners overlap with characteristics of children with ADHD. More recent empirical research confirms that high-ability students can and do have diagnoses of ADHD, and that their school performance difficulties, behavioral presentation, and family history of an ADHD diagnosis is very similar to average ability students with ADHD.
COGx & ADHD
COGx programs approach ADHD by first looking at a learner’s unique cognitive profile. In ADHD cases, it is typical for individuals to have weaknesses in working memory &/or processing speed, which often results in symptoms of ADHD. It is also very common with students with ADHD to struggle with Executive Functions. COGx programs can target these skills by identifying and targeting the manifestation of these ADHD symptoms. Research also shows that Metacognition—specifically a learner’s awareness—is perhaps the most influential factor in improving these skills. Raising Metacognition is a pillar of COGx programs and is critical to meaningful results for students with ADHD.