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Understanding Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Below is a list of different resources for individuals with ADHD, including treatment options and educational resources.

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders of childhood and adolescence, with estimates that it affects anywhere from 3% to 10% of school-aged children.  Many of these children continue to experience problems into adulthood. The key to understanding ADHD is that it may not look the same in children and adults. 

In children, ADHD is characterized by symptoms of inattention (e.g., easily distracted, difficulty following directions, losing things), hyperactivity (e.g., squirming, difficulty playing quietly, talking excessively), and impulsivity (e.g., difficulty waiting turn, interrupting others).  Depending on the severity of the child's ADHD, he or she may not initially experience significant problems in school.  Some children are able to compensate until they reach higher grades when classes become more difficult and an inability to be organized and attentive is more likely to lead to academic problems.

While some adults with ADHD may manifest behaviors similar to those seen in children, ADHD tends to look different in adults.  For instance, adults with ADHD may be forgetful, have employment problems, have a low frustration tolerance, exhibit poor organization skills, and be prone to procrastination.  Adults with ADHD are also more likely to have had a history of academic problems, have a higher rate of driving violations, be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, and experience problems with drugs and alcohol than adults without ADHD.

Treatments for ADHD Explained

Once you or your child receives a diagnosis of ADHD you may want to start treatment.  Medication may seem like an easy fix, and while it is effective in helping control ADHD symptoms, it is important to understand that the research has demonstrated that psychosocial (e.g., non-medical) treatment plays a vital rule in successful management of ADHD symptoms.

Below you will find treatment resources as well as information resources designed specifically to answer questions about ADHD and ADHD treatments for parents, educators, and professionals.

Treatment Services for ADHD in the Pittsburgh Area

  • ADHD Across the Lifespan Clinic - provides evaluation and treatment using evidence-based psychosocial (e.g., non-medical) treatments in addition to medication management for children and adults.  The Youth and Family Research Program's Director, Brooke Molina, Ph.D., is also the Director of Clinical Research for the ADHD Across the Lifespan Clinic, providing a crucial link between research and clinical services.

ADHD Resources for Students

  • Education Help - refer to our information page that provides valuable information on education rights under IDEA and Section 504, financial aid for college, ADHD assistance at Pittsburgh area colleges, and Landmark College, a college for students with ADHD and other learning disabilities.
  • Khan Academy - is a website providing free educational videos and practice questions on a variety of topics targeted at grades K-12 and beyond.  These short videos (<10 minutes) can be used quickly and easily to supplement existing course work by providing another explanation of a topic.  The short length of these videos may also be beneficial to those with ADHD as they will not be too long to hold your attention while still providing you with valuable information on the topic.
  • University of Maryland ADHD Tools - a series of videos with evidence-based strategies for tweens, teens and young adults with ADHD. Available in English, Spanish & Mandarin!

ADHD Resources for Parents