Study Guide: Supporting Individuals with ADHD


Behaviors that Characterize ADHD



ADHD and the Brain

ADHD interferes with certain executive functions of the brain:

  • Organizing
  • Prioritizing
  • Planning
  • Utilizing working memory
  • Accessing recall
  • Focusing
  • Work initiation
  • Sustaining a task
  • Shifting attention (transitioning)
  • Regulating alertness
  • Pacing oneself (time management)
  • Managing frustration
  • Modulating emotions
  • Shifting attention (transitioning)
  • Regulating alertness
  • Pacing oneself (time management)
  • Managing frustration
  • Modulating emotions


Diagnostic Requirements


Myths and Facts

*Average for the 2007-2009 period (CDC/NCHS, Health Data Interactive and National Health Interview Survey:



He’s a handful, but that is normal. We just don’t let boys be boys anymore.

Truth: ADHD is a real, day-to-day functional disability that seriously and consistently acts as a barrier to kids’ success.

Truth: Ratios of males to females with ADHD is between 3:1 to 5:1

Truth: Girls are underdiagnosed


ADHD is caused by poor parental discipline.

Truth:  ADHD is a neurobiological condition. It is true that not providing calm and consistent limit setting can make behaviors more severe, but a parent cannot cause ADHD.


I think we should assign Jamal more homework since he lacks attention during class and doesn’t get all his classwork done.

Truth: Caregivers should work with teachers to limit homework to 1 hour per night to prevent burnout or overload of a child with ADHD.


Just stop feeding him sugar and he won’t be so hyperactive.

Truth: Repeated research shows there is no significant link between ADHD and sugar consumption.

Truth: Children with ADHD are often picky eaters

Truth: ADHD meds can suppress appetite

Truth: Children with ADHD will benefit from a high protein breakfast



Jamal doesn’t get enough exercise.

Truth: Research has shown that children with ADHD need more exercise than other children. Exercise releases endorphins which are good for the brain and can actually have a calming effect.


ADHD is a chronic condition that may change form over time, but there is no cure.

Truth: There is no cure for ADHD. It is a chronic condition that does not go away. Instead, it may change form over time, as the child matures and adapts to their condition.


A child who has ADHD can benefit from taking medication that helps the child focus, decreases hyperactivity, and decreases impulsivity.

Truth: Medications can help a child with ADHD focus and decrease the child’s hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Truth: While medications can help a child who has ADHD, it is still important to provide multi-modal treatment including : individual therapy, family therapy, education.


Strategies for Supporting Individuals with ADHD

Remember the acronym: L-E-S-S-O-N


L: Limit Choices- keep it to two

E: Environment- provide a consistent, organized workspace

S: Strengths- help the child discover what they do well

S: Simplify- break down complex tasks into simple steps

O: Organize- create official storage areas to put things

N: Need Schedules- provide predicable daily routines

References and Resources

Subject Matter Experts: