MYTH : ADHD is just in Kids…right? Kids grow out of it.
This is a common misconception that ADHD is something that happens in only in childhood and that’s where it stays.
The symptoms of ADHD often occur and are “picked up” in school age children, but this is only part of the story. . I’ve even heard one mother say “Thankfully my child is finishing school next year so I won’t have to buy any more medication.”
Just because a child finishes school, does not mean that underlying cognitive processes that result in the symptoms of ADHD disappear.
While many children, predominantly boisterous boys, are diagnosed as 7 to 10 age year olds, there are many boys and girls and adults, (both male and female) that don’t have a diagnosis until much later, even into advanced adulthood. In fact, according to Dr Patricia Quinn (20110, in the US the average age for a male to be diagnosed is age 7, but the average woman diagnosed with ADHD is 37
What’s that you say? You don’t see many 33 year old women jumping on the desks at work, nor do you see them running away from their partners at the shopping centre? ADHD can manifest in other ways than that generally ascribed to or visible in the classroom.
It is not unusual for the ADHD client to actually be very quiet or overlooked in classrooms or group situations. This may occur if they are predominantly of the “Inattentive” subtype of ADHD. Typically they are the dreamy bookworm who is actually lost in their own thoughts. It may be a child or teen or adult who gets totally immersed in the computer and cannot check back into the real world without numerous reminders or even nagging and shouting just to grab their attention. People who have predominantly inattentive ADHD may struggle with the self-regulation ability to change manage their attention where it needs to be. This can include the ability to change focus from their current interesting task to other tasks.
We have all encountered people that talk compulsively. I mean, you cannot get a word in edgewise, you are being polite, but the fact is, you aren’t really interested (as the topic is not relevant or a priority), you have other things you could or should be doing (perhaps you are at work, and a customer is monopolising your time by constantly speaking). It maybe that this talkative person is not reading your social cues , or appreciating your circumstances, and by doing so is talking impulsively and is unable to self –regulate their verbal behaviour.
Impulsivity may also be demonstrated when someone starts a task and regularly gets sidetracked from finishing the set task. This can happen with people that are neurotypical, but this can be a regular and damaging trait for someone with EF challenges.
Another common presentation of impulsivity can be “overspending” and frequent impulse buying. This behaviour can also have negative consequences on quality of life (financial impact and issues with excessive clutter).
So while “hyperactivity” is a well known result of ADHD and EF neurological landscape, it is also important to be aware the other key descriptors such as Impulsivity and Inattention. The first steps to solving any discomfort are awareness and acknowledgement.
Today is always the best day to start reducing stressful struggles and distractions. Understanding how our the ADHD like to work is the first step to help us make good plans and choices for successful outcomes of completing tasks and having successful interactions with others.
ref. /quinn,P. 2011. Part 1 ADHD in girls and women. Podcast. Academic Success Program Seminars. University of North Carolina. 7 December 2011 (Itunes U)