What do Howie Mandel, Robin Williams, Jim Carey, Bill Cosby, Michael Phelps, Solange Knowles, Ty Pennington, Christopher Knight, and Cammie Granato all have in common? They’ve all been diagnosed with ADHD. Highly successful, creative, imaginative, caring, compassionate are just a few words that describe people with ADHD.

Many jokes are made about it, especially since the movie “Up,” in which a talking dog is easily distracted and blurts out “Squirrel!” mid-sentence. ADHD is a real diagnosis, with real issues and problems, and real treatment options available.

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and there are 2 main types: Predominantly Inattentive (sometimes called ADD), and Predominantly Hyperactive. The DSM-IV lists the criteria as having 6 of the signs of inattention*, for at least 6 months, and 6 or more signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity.**

Only a qualified, licensed, clinical professional should diagnose ADHD, however, teachers may be asked to complete a questionnaire about the student being evaluated. A diagnosis should be collaborated with parents, teachers, and/or other adults in the child’s life. Typically diagnosed in childhood, around 6 or 7 years old, ADHD can interfere with a young student’s ability to focus, pay attention, and succeed in school. However, some adults are diagnosed with ADD, or ADHD, because it was never discovered in childhood.

The two-pronged treatment of choice is medication and behavior therapy. Medications alone cannot help a person improve time management, self-esteem or organizational skills. Parents can be a huge help in the student’s life to complete projects, homework, papers and gain academic success. Schools are bound by law to make special accommodations for students with ADHD, such as a 504 plan, or an IEP. Students with ADHD may need to sit closer to the teacher, closer to the chalkboard, away from peers, away from the window, and minimize distractions. Sometimes an assignment paper can be checked by a teacher daily, before the student leaves the school.

I use the Vanderbilt Assessments for ADHD. These questionnaires will be given for completion by parents, teachers, and any other adults in the child’s life. Validated, reliable, and proven effective in helping to diagnose ADHD, and is used by pediatricians and clinicians worldwide.

If you need some help with your ADHD child, or you’d like a professional evaluation, please contact me directly at 847-962-5234.


J. Faith Gallup, LCSW



*The signs of inattention include: a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities; (b) often has difficultly sustaining attention in tasks or play activities; (c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly; (d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions); (e) often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities; (f) often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework); (g) often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools); (h) is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli; (i) is often forgetful in daily activities.

**The signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity include: (a) often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat; (b) often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected; (c) often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness); (d) often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly; (e) is often “on the go,” or often acts as if “driven by a motor;” (f) often talks excessively; (g) often blurts out answers before questions have been completed; (h) often has difficulty awaiting turn; (i) often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).

anxiety resources

helpful websites

  • TroubledWith: Stress
    Excellent collection of resources on dealing with anxiety disorders, as well as when and how to seek treatment.
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    National, non-profit membership organization dedicated to informing the public, healthcare professionals and legislators about anxiety disorders, promote the early diagnosis, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders, and improve the lives of the people who suffer from them.
  • Freedom From Fear
    National not-for-profit mental health advocacy association developed to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support.