ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting both children and adults. ADHD in children is described as a persistent or on-going pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that gets in the way of daily life or typical development. Children with ADHD may also have difficulties with maintaining attention, executive function (or the brain's ability to begin an activity, organize itself and manage tasks), and working memory.
ADHD symptoms in kids often overlap with symptoms of other mental and physical health conditions. When a parent reports, "He can't focus," or "She can't finish her homework," is the underlying cause ADHD, anxiety, a reading problem, or within developmental norms? To assess ADHD and develop treatment plans, clinicians evaluate specific symptom areas and try to determine how long the symptoms have been present and how much impairment they cause.