The Individuality of ADHD

We assume a common set of traits and characteristics when conceptualizing or thinking about an individual with ADHD.  It is also common to think about one person we may know with ADHD and assume that is the face of ADHD.  While there are certainly similarities among individuals with ADHD, no one person is exactly the same and no one individual with ADHD is exactly the same as another individual with ADHD.

One important consideration is the difference in specific clinical subtypes of ADHD.  These include ADHD, Inattentive Presentation, ADHD, Hyperactivity-Impulsive Presentation, and ADHD, Combined Presentation, which is a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive behaviors.  In addition, when considering the specific traits within these subtypes, the severity of any specific behavior also varies.  For example, one individual may demonstrate impulsive blurting out and interrupting behaviors to a more severe degree than another.  Or, an individual may demonstrate organizational deficits to a severe, moderate, or milder degree compared to their peers.  Another aspect that can make the face of ADHD look more confusing among individuals is that there is often another co-occurring disorder such as an anxiety disorder, another behavioral disorder, or a mood disorder.

Given the variation of the phenotype (observable characteristics) of ADHD as well as varying aspects of an individual, it often helps to identify the specific areas of deficit that are present for the individual in order to provide the most effective intervention plan as opposed to pre-determining an intervention plan based solely on the ADHD diagnosis itself.    This can occur through a more comprehensive clinical evaluation or through individuals / team members who know the child well specifically identifying behavioral pattern areas that are most problematic.

For specific information on the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, you may access the following web link: