Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


Other Health Impairment—Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)



Many students with ADHD now may qualify for special education services under the “Other Health Impairment” category within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA defines “other health impairment” as...

“...having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and adversely affects a child's educational performance."  

[34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.8(c)(9)]

Other definitions

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a condition that can make it hard for a person to sit still, control behavior, and pay attention. These difficulties usually begin before the person is 7 years old. However, these behaviors may not be noticed until the child is older. (NICHCY, 2012)



Doctors do not know just what causes AD/HD. However, researchers who study the brain are coming closer to understanding what may cause AD/HD. They believe that some people with AD/HD do not have enough of certain chemicals (called neurotransmitters) in their brain. These chemicals help the brain control behavior. (NICHCY, 2012)


The symptom-related criteria for the three primary subtypes are adapted from DSM-IV and summarized as follows:

AD/HD predominantly inattentive type: (AD/HD-I)

AD/HD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type: (AD/HD-HI)

AD/HD combined type: (AD/HD-C)

Children with the combined type of AD/HD have symptoms of both of the types described above. They have problems with paying attention, with hyperactivity, and with controlling their impulses.

Of course, from time to time, all children are inattentive, impulsive, and too active. With children who have AD/HD, these behaviors are the rule, not the exception. (NICHCY, 2012)


There is no quick treatment for AD/HD. However the symptoms of AD/HD can be managed. It's importnat that the child's family and teachers:


Children with AD/HD are at risk for potentially serious problems in adolescence: academic underachievement and school failure, problems in social relations, risk for antisocial behavior patterns, teen pregnancy, and adverse driving consequences.As noted above, AD/HD persists from childhood to adolescence in the vast majority of cases, although the symptom area of motor activity tends to diminish with time. Furthermore, up to two-thirds of children with AD/HD continue to experience significant symptoms in adulthood. Yet many adults with AD/HD learn coping strategies and compensate quite well. A key to good outcome is early identification and treatment. (NRC on AD/HD, 2012)


School can be hard for children with AD/HD. Success in school often means being able to pay attention and control behavior and impulse. These are the areas where children with AD/HD have trouble.

Most students with AD/HD are helped by supports or changes in the classroom (called adaptations). The following tips for teachers describe some common changes that help students with AD/HD:


Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)

P.O. Box 7557
Wilmington, DE 19803-9997

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) is designated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. This international organization has been in existence since 1989. The mission of ADDA is to provide information, resources and networking to adults with AD/HD and to the professionals who work with them. In doing so, ADDA generates hope, awareness, empowerment and connections worldwide in the field of AD/HD. Bringing together scientific perspectives and the human experience, the information and resources provided to individuals and families affected by AD/HD and professionals in the field focuses on diagnoses, treatments, strategies and techniques for helping adults with AD/HD lead better lives.

C.H.A.D.D. (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)

8181 Professional Place, Suite 150
Landover, MD 20785

CHADD is the nation’s leading non-profit organization serving individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Through collaborative leadership, advocacy, research, education and support, CHADD provides science-based, evidence-based information about AD/HD to parents, educators, professionals, the media and the general public.


General Web Sites

Web Sites for Parents

Web Sites for Children