DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
Part I of
VII The Overview
Imagine living in a fast-moving
kaleidoscope, where sounds, images, and thoughts are constantly shifting. Feeling easily
bored, yet helpless to keep your mind on tasks you need to complete. Distracted by
unimportant sights and sounds, your mind drives you from one thought or activity to the
next. Perhaps you are so wrapped up in a collage of thoughts and images that you don't
notice when someone speaks to you.
For many people, this is what it's like to have
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. They may be unable to sit still, plan
ahead, finish tasks, or be fully aware of what's going on around them. To their family,
classmates or coworkers, they seem to exist in a whirlwind of disorganized or frenzied
activity. Unexpectedlyon some days and in some situationsthey seem fine, often
leading others to think the person with ADHD can actually control these behaviors. As a
result, the disorder can mar the person's relationships with others in addition to
disrupting their daily life, consuming energy, and diminishing self-esteem.
ADHD, once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain
dysfunction, is one of the most common mental disorders among children. It affects 3 to 5
percent of all children, perhaps as many as 2 million American children. Two to three
times more boys than girls are affected. On the average, at least one child in every
classroom in the United States needs help for the disorder. ADHD often continues into
adolescence and adulthood, and can cause a lifetime of frustrated dreams and emotional
But there is help...and hope. In the last decade,
scientists have learned much about the course of the disorder and are now able to identify
and treat children, adolescents, and adults who have it. A variety of medications,
behavior-changing therapies, and educational options are already available to help people
with ADHD focus their attention, build self-esteem, and function in new ways.
In addition, new avenues of research promise to further
improve diagnosis and treatment. With so many American children diagnosed as having
attention disorder, research on ADHD has become a national priority. During the
1990swhich the President and Congress have declared the "Decade of the
Brain"it is possible that scientists will pinpoint the biological basis of ADHD
and learn how to prevent or treat it even more effectively.
This [series] is provided by the National Institute of
Mental Health (NIMH), the Federal agency that supports research nationwide on the brain,
mental illnesses, and mental health. Scientists supported by NIMH are dedicated to
understanding the workings and interrelationships of the various regions of the brain, and
to developing preventive measures and new treatments to overcome brain disorders that
handicap people in school, work, and play.
The [series] offers up-to-date information on attention
deficit disorders and the role of NIMH-sponsored research in discovering underlying causes
and effective treatments. It describes treatment options, strategies for coping, and
sources of information and support. You'll find out what it's like to have ADHD from the
stories of Mark, Lisa, and Henry. You'll see their early frustrations, their steps toward
getting help, and their hopes for the future.
The individuals referred to in this [series] are not
real, but their stories are representative of people who show symptoms of ADHD.
NIH Publication No. 94-3572
DISOBEDIENT, AND/OR HOME-SCHOOLED
Though some went to a university, the following great ones, with
taught themselves at home: Michelangelo, Stonewall Jackson,
Henry Ford, Robert E.
Lee, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, Alexander Graham
McCormick, Claude Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, Andrew Wyeth, John
Wesley, John Quincy
Adams, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, James
Madison, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George
Washington, Woodrow Wilson, George Washington Carver, Pierre Curie, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry,
William Penn, Hans Christian
Anderson, Pearl Buck, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, C. S.
Lewis, George Bernard Shaw, Bret Harte,
Charlie Chaplin, George Rogers Clark, Andrew Carnegie, Sandra Day
O'Connor, John Burroughs, Albert Schweitzer, Noel
Coward, Charles Steinmetz, John Paul
Getty, Bill Gates, and Einstein who "was
slow to learn to speak, could not stomach
organized learning, and loathed taking exams."... And now we also know why
the home-schooled child, who is not only more confident and sociable,
is 8 times more likely to become a National Merit
Scholar than is the one who goes to school.