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Frequently Asked Questions

I need information on ADD, not ADHD! Do you have any information on ADD?

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Yes, we do.

ADD, ADHD, hyperkinesis? It gets confusing, doesn't it?

This condition has been known for more than a hundred years, but it hasn't always been called the same thing. In the past, different labels have been used for what we now call attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Why the change? The American Psychiatric Association (APA) publishes the official guidelines for naming and diagnosing mental disorders. This book (called the DSM, or "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders") is periodically updated as scientists increase their knowledge. Research in the 1970s and 1980s began to show there are different types of attention deficit. Although they have major differences, the types are more alike than different. Doctors began to see that the different types are all part of the same major condition. In 1994, the DSM changed the name from ADD (attention deficit disorder) to ADHD because of the advances in research.

There are three sub-types of this one condition called ADHD. They are:

  • predominantly inattentive
  • predominantly hyperactive/impulsive
  • combined.

Some doctors and mental health professionals still use the term ADD. If you or someone you know has been given this diagnosis, it most likely means you or they have the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD. This is not the individual who is "bouncing off the walls" or "simply can't sit still." Rather, it's the person who seems to be always daydreaming, is forgetful, is easily distracted, is disorganized, or just can't seem to pay attention.

The DSM is currently being reviewed and a new edition ("DSM-5") will probably be published in the next several years. 

The information on this Web site applies to all types of "attention deficit disorders." For more details on the formal symptoms of all three subtypes, please see Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions
My child has ADHD but doesn't qualify for an IEP; can he still qualify under Section 504?
What is Executive Function?
Can you help me find a doctor or mental health professional?
Is there a simple test to diagnose ADHD?
What is Section 504?
If I request an evaluation, doesn't the school have to do it?
The school says my child has ADHD; now what do I do?
The school says my child needs Ritalin; where do I get it?
My child has been diagnosed with ADHD; isn't he automatically qualified for Section 504 services?
What is FAPE under IDEA?
What is FAPE under 504?
What is the difference between Section 504 and IDEA?
Can someone with ADHD join the military?
I've heard of auditory processing disorder (APD.) Could my child have that instead of ADHD?
Are Charter Schools required to follow IDEA?
Does my child need to be physically disabled to get services?
Is it safe for a woman with ADHD to take stimulant medication when she is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant?
I'm an adult; doesn't ADHD only affect children?
What is LRE?
Is it illegal to carry ADHD medications?
If my child has an IEP or gets special education, does she have to be in a different classroom?
My child started taking medication and has developed tics. What do I do?
My daughter wants to play college basketball. Will NCAA rules force her to stop taking her ADHD medication?
My child is very bright. He can't have ADHD, too, can he?
Are children who take stimulant medications more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol later in life?
Can you help me find a summer camp for my child?
Now that the holidays are over, how do I get things back to normal?
I get really stressed over the holidays. Do you have any suggestions to help me cope?
Obesity and ADHD: What's the connection?
Smoking and ADHD: What's the connection?
My child goes to a private (non-public) school. Do I have a right to see my child's educational records?
Marijuana is now legal in some areas of the U.S. What is the impact of taking marijuana for the teenager or young adult with ADHD?
My child was just diagnosed with ADHD.
Is she eligible for SSI?
My child has been diagnosed with ADHD and I believe she may be eligible for SSI.
What do I need to do to apply?
I've been told that an educational advocate could assist me at my child's IEP meeting. What is an educational advocate and how can I find one?
My daughter has ADHD and is a junior in college. There is a course requirement she must meet to graduate and so far she's failed the course three times. Is there any way she can get a waiver for this requirement so she can graduate?
Will my child's Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 plan transfer if he changes schools?
View all Frequently Asked Questions

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