The difference between ADD and ADHD? Technically, nothing. They’re the same thing.
Right now, the diagnostic name is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It used to be called Attention Deficit Disorder, with a distinction of ‘with or without hyperactivity.’ This was changed when the third edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) was released in 1987.
The DSM is in its fifth edition (which was released May 2013), and as of now, ADHD is categorized into three presentations, or sub-types: predominantly inattentive presentation, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation, and combined presentation.
What used to be considered ADD, without the hyperactivity, is in essence the predominantly inattentive presentation.
So, ADD is the now outdated term for ADHD. That’s the difference!
ADHD students take note! Below is an introduction to some of the new members of your support team at college or university. Check out who they are and why you need them:
Who: Disability counsellor Where you can find them: Your school’s Disability/Accessibility Centre What they do: They help set up accommodations and any resources/extra support you may need Why you should go to them: Accommodations are meant to help you, so use them. Also, your disability counsellor can be a great resource for brainstorming challenges and setting up support if you’re struggling in one (or all) of your classes When to go:As early as possible – ideally before classes start, and then throughout the year the second you realize you may need some extra support
Who: Professor Where you can find them: In class, during office hours, and randomly throughout campus What they do: They teach your class – which means they also hold the fate of your grade in their hands Why you should go to them: If you’re struggling or falling behind in class, your professor can help. They can clarify material and/or expectations for you, help you where you’re stuck, and give some leeway with deadlines when necessary When to go:The first week of class to introduce yourself to your professor and discuss your accommodations and learning challenges. After that, if you’re struggling go to them as soon as possible – they will be much more open to helping you out if you own up to what’s going on early, rather than waiting until way past the deadline.
Who: Tutor Where you can find them:Most often through your school’s learning centre, or through your disability counsellor What they do: They help you better understand and get through course material Why you should go to them: Tutors are the best resource to help make sure you understand the material, and are a great gauge to see if you’re ready for a test. Regular meetings with a tutor are also great to help keep you accountable, and they help you better understand your learning strengths and challenges When to go:Set up a tutor early, especially if you’re starting a class that seems like it will be (chances are it won’t get any easier). Also be sure to schedule a tutor well before a test or exam, or before a really hard class.
The BuzzFeed article called 6 Stories on Living with ADD and ADHD is a short but sweet glimpse into the lives of six individuals who have learned to live (and thrive) with ADHD. They chose to share their stories to help the world better understand what it can really be like to have ADHD, as well as to give a voice to those individuals out there who are living with it and figuring out their way!
Some of our favourite quotes:
“Sometimes I think of ADD as a weird blessing creatively because I’m always working on something — I’m never just stuck on one project and I end up accomplishing more that way.”
“For the most part, I see it as just a part of who I am — my wandering mind and fascination with the world’s random details have made me into the writer and thinker that I am.”
If you suspect that your child’s teacher might be biased against ADHD, it might be helpful to check out the article WhyTeachersResist.
The article describes two ways that teachers tend to perceive students with difficult behaviours or learning difficulties.
In the ‘behavioural model,’ the teacher assumes that behaviour is linked to the student’s motivation, and is therefore deliberate. In the ‘academic model,’ the teacher believes that behaviour or learning difficulties have an underlying neurological basis, and are therefore involuntary.
With the second model, the teacher understands that the student would perform better if possible – which usually translates into greater patience and support on the part of the teacher, rather than frustration and firmness.
Why do teachers sometimes use the behavioural model? The article explains that “it’s not out of indifference or hostility,…It’s human nature…when we attempt to interpret human behaviour.”
One great piece of advice: make the teacher a partner – the more accurate information they have about your child and his/her diagnosis, the more likely they’ll view your child under the ‘academic model’ and treat them accordingly.
Springboard Clinic’s Fall 2014 Newsletter focused on taking advantage of the back-to-school vibe - even if you’re not a student, there’s something to be said about the optimism that comes with a new school year. So, whether you’re a student, parent, or well-intentioned adult, this issue offered tips, ideas, and sources of support that focus on making this school year one to remember!
What to expect:
Information about two new groups: a Parent Group starting in September, and a Kids Group starting in October!
When a child has an ADHD diagnosis, parents often have difficulty figuring out how to talk to them about it. We’ve already talked about the approach in our post called My child has ADHD – how do I talk to them about it? But what about helping your child understand ADHD and what it actually means?
The video below is a fabulous introduction to ADHD and the impact that it has on the brain. It’s a simple, straightforward explanation intended for children aged six to 12. Age brackets aside? This video is truly quite helpful for all ages in better understanding what’s happening up there when you have ADHD!
The article offers some great insight into working with ADHD students, as well as some unique tips and ideas from “veteran” teachers. Not only that, the message behind it is a good one: learning how to effectively reach students with ADHD students takes practice, consistent collaboration with support staff and families, and by “tweaking lesson plans and rearranging seating charts dozens of times.”
Having worked with hundreds of children with ADHD, and hundreds of their teachers, what is Springboard’s #1 tip?:
Seek to understand ADHD on a physiological level, thus connecting attention issues with the brain. If you understand the root of symptoms as a physical limitation in the student’s brain, you’re going to much more easily react from a place of patience. If, however, you view your student’s symptoms as willful, deliberate behaviour, your natural reaction will be frustration and reprimand.
To quote another ADHD guru, Dr. Ed Hallowell, “The philosophy guides the outcome.”
If you’re like us (or a human being for that matter) you probably remember at one point getting in trouble for something like chewing gum or doodling in class. You may also remember being very annoyed by this, and maybe even thinking that your teacher was “out to get you.”
First of all, unless you had a truly horrid teacher, they were not in fact “out to get you” – for the most part they really did just want you to pay attention and learn. Problem was, however annoying to the teacher, the very things that got you in trouble might have actually been helping you.
“From the student’s point of view, that seems like an arbitrary rule. Who cares, as long as you chew quietly and don’t stick it in some other kid’s hair? Well, maybe they’re worried that chewing gum will make you too smart…chewing gum can and does help you focus and concentrate, not to mention relieve your boredom and tension…”
PUT THAT IPOD AWAY AND CONCENTRATE!
“Kids tend to like their music, and they tend to like it wherever they are. This has been a source of annoyance for teachers since the days of the transistor radio…after all, what could be worse than a kid listening to noisy, thumbing beats when he or she is supposed to be studying? How could anyone possibly concentrate with that racket banging around their ears? Actually, not only is it possible to concentrate despite the loud music, the music actually helps…”
STOP FIDGETING AND PAY ATTENTION!
“You know that kid. Hell, there’s a good chance you were that kid. The one who wouldn’t sit still in class, constantly playing with whatever he happened to have lying on his desk. He, incidentally, is just doing what comes naturally…and making himself healthier in the process…”
STOP DOODLING AND PAY ATTENTION!
“If you’re an adult, you probably indulge in idle doodling whenever a notepad and a boring meeting collide. If you’re a kid, it’s every time there is a boring lecture. Many tens of millions of stick figures and band logos have made their way onto the printed page thanks to this…then you got caught and your teacher showed the whole class that flying unicorn you had been idly crafting, to the amusement of everyone. Cue laughter, childhood trauma…It’s a bit unfair, really, because all you were doing was helping yourself concentrate on what the teacher was saying…”
*Editor’s note: If you recognize the above post, it’s because we originally included it in our Guide to Student Life and ADHD. We didn’t want others to miss out on it!
If you’re looking into a psychoeducational assessment for yourself or your child, there are certain things to consider before taking the plunge.
First of all, what is a psychoeducational assessment? One definition (among many available online) states that it is an “estimate [of] an individual’s abilities and educational achievement levels.” In an nutshell, this means that it is a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in several domains – including cognitive ability, academic achievement, information processing, and more.
What else should you know before booking a psychoeducational assessment? Below are 5 questions to ask before committing to anything:
Who will be conducting the testing? Only a psychologist can formally sign off on a psychoeducational test, so the testing would need to be conducted by, or under the supervision of one.
What type of tests will be conducted? Similarly, what will the assessment be looking for?
Does the report include recommended accommodations for work/school? An assessment should be considered a stepping stone to moving forward. Find out how the clinical team approaches recommendations and accommodations so you know what sort of support will be offered when all is said and done.
What happens after the assessment? This question is similar to the one above. Getting a diagnosis is only the first step to getting help. Find out if they provide follow-up support once your assessment is complete. Better yet, can you continue to work with the assessment team for treatment?
Is there any help with funding? Private insurance and OSAP can be potential sources of financial support for an assessment, so find out if the clinic can help with this. Otherwise, you’re looking at anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000.
Getting a psychoeducational assessment can be an expensive but worthwhile investment. We hope these suggestions will help you make an informed decision.
For more information about psychoeducational assessments, check out: