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Glossary of Terms Related to ADHD

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Term Definition
ADHD Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This is the official name given this condition by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).
ADD Attention Deficit Disorder. This is an older term for ADHD which many people still use. Some also use it to refer to the sub-type of ADHD that has less hyperactivity and is more characterized by inattention.
Co-Existing Conditions When two or more health conditions are present in the same individual, they are said to be co-existing (also called co-occurring or co-morbid).
FAPE Free appropriate public education. The provision - under IDEA and Section 504 - which guarantees that eligible children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education from age 3 to 18 (some states require services up to age 20).
Hearing Officer A school official who oversees a due process hearing and makes a final decision.
IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The law that governs special education in the U.S. and provides funding to school districts to support special education and related services
IEP Individualized education plan. A written document, for eligible children with disabilities under IDEA, that describes the goals for the child, based on the child's current level of performance.
LEP Limited English proficient. The term used by the federal government, most states, and local school districts to identify students whose difficulty in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language will make it difficult to succeed in English-only classrooms.
LRE Least restrictive environment. A law that requires children with disabilities to be taught in the regular classroom as much as possible, using appropriate related aids and services.
Medication Holiday A planned period of time, for medical or evaluation purposes, when prescribed medication therapy is temporarily discontinued. Should be undertaken only with the guidance of the prescribing medical practitioner.
Multimodal Treatment ADHD in children often requires a comprehensive approach to treatment; this "multimodal" approach includes multiple interventions working together, tailored to the unique needs of the child.
Non-stimulant Medication

A medication that has been approved to treat ADHD, but is not classified by the FDA as a "controlled substance." Non-stimulant medications that are approved by the FDA for ADHD are atomoxetine (Strattera) guanfacine (Intuniv) and clonidine (Kapvay).

PBS Positive Behavioral Support. Rooted in research, PBS provides a systemic approach to decreasing problem behaviors and increasing socially acceptable behaviors in the individual and in the system (e.g. a school).
Rebound Effect The tendency in some medications (including some ADHD medications), when withdrawn from use, to lead to symptoms of greater severity than were present before the medication was initiated. The effect may or may not be temporary.
Section 504 A civil rights statute (part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) that ensures children with disabilities are given equal opportunity when compared to non-disabled children the same age to participate in all academic and nonacademic services the school has to offer.
Stimulant Medication This is the classification of most medications approved for the treatment of ADHD. Stimulant medications "stimulate" certain activity in the body's nervous systems, including the production and activity of neurotransmitters. When taken as prescribed, stimulants generally help improve the symptoms of ADHD by promoting alertness, awareness, and the individual's ability to focus.

Last Updated: April, 2012

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