Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not considered a separate disability category under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, it is classified under Other Health Impairment (OHI) when special education and related services are required.
Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that—
- Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and
- Adversely affects a child’s educational performance (Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Part B, Subpart A § 300.8(c)(9)(2004)).
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Part B, Subpart A § 300.8(c)(9)(2004)
- 11.1: Definitions of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association defines attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as the following.
- 11.2: The History of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- ADHD has gained attention in recent years, but the condition was first described in 1902 by George F. Still, a British physician. He presented a series of papers to the Royal College of Physicians describing children with a variety of characteristics, including attention problems and hyperactivity.
- 11.3: Prevalence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Among children aged 3 to 17 years, approximately 9% are identified as having ADHD.
- 11.4: Causes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- ADHD is generally accepted as a neurological disorder. Research has shown that the prefrontal lobe, the basal ganglia, and the cerebellum are impacted in individuals with ADHD (Krain & Castellanos, 2006).
- 11.5: Characteristics of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- The DSM includes specific characteristics that are used to diagnose an individual with ADHD. The characteristics associated with ADHD vary by age. Young children typically demonstrate excessive gross motor behavior associated with hyperactivity, such as the inability to stay seated in the classroom.
- 11.6: Identifying Students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- The identification of individuals with ADHD is a comprehensive process that involves multiple measures such as interviews, academic testing, and observation.