A child receives a label based onprolonged occurrences of eight or more, out of a possible fourteen, symptomsbefore the age of seven. These symptoms have been identified as: DSM-III-RDiagnostic Criteria For Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Note: DSM-III-R Diagnostic Criteria For Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorderreprinted from the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,"Third Edition, Revised, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1987.
1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat (in adolescents maybe limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
2. Has difficulty remaining seated when required to.
3. Is easilydistracted by extraneous stimuli.
4. Has difficulty awaiting turns ingames or group situations.
5. Often blurts out answers to questionsbefore they have been completed.
6. Has difficulty following through oninstructions from others (not due to oppositional behavior or failure ofcomprehension).
7. Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or playactivities.
8. Often shifts from one uncompleted activity to another.
9. Has difficulty playing quietly.
10. Often talks excessively.
11. Often interrupts or intrudes on others, e.g., butts into other people'sgames.
12. Often does not seem to listen to what is being said to him or her.
13. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities at school or athome (e.g., toys, pencils, books).
14. Often engages in physically dangerous activities without consideringpossible consequences (not for the purpose of thrill-seeking), e.g.,runs into street without looking.
The label ADD refers to those children who are experiencing attentionproblems, but who are not hyperactive or impulsive. Such children display avariety of symptoms that can be related to inefficiencies in different areas oftheir development. Fortunately, developmental problems can be identified,addressed, and often eliminated.
Almost all of these behaviors, however, might be found in bright, talented,creative, and gifted children. Until now, little attention has been given tothe similarities and differences between the two groups, thus raising thepotential for misidentification between giftedness andADHD.
Sometimes, professionals have diagnosed ADHD by simplylistening to parent or teacher descriptions of the child's behaviors along witha brief observation of the child. Other times,screening questionnaires are used, although thesequestionnaires only quantify the parents' or teachers' descriptions of thebehaviors (Parker, 1992). Children who are fortunate enough to have a thoroughphysical evaluation (which includes screening for allergies and other metabolicdisorders) and extensive psychological evaluations, which include assessment ofintelligence, achievement, and emotional status, have a better chance of beingaccurately identified. A child may be gifted and have ADHD. Without a thoroughprofessional evaluation, it is difficult to tell.