“Johnny, stop shaking your leg, you are making the whole kitchen table move.” 

“Jack, how many times do I have to remind you to take out the trash?”

“Jane, I’ve been asking you for forty-five minutes to stop playing that game on your iPad and help me.”

“I want to get started on my work and be productive, but I have difficulty getting started. Even when I start, my mind wanders or I find something more interesting and do that instead of the task that I should be doing.”

“I know I should use a calendar, but it is hard to remember to add events to it.”


Do any of these conversations sound familiar? Are these issues that you yourself have or see in your child, teen, or significant other?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is quite common in children, teens, and adults. For an in-depth explanation, see here: https://chadd.org/about-adhd/overview/

While ADHD is one of the more well-known mental health disorders, symptoms and the functional impact often go beyond the most common symptoms of difficulties with attention, hyperactivity (i.e., trouble sitting still, fidgeting), and impulsivity (i.e., acting or saying things without thinking). 

People with ADHD may look somewhat different from each other. Certainly, there are children, teens, and adults who often seem distracted, can’t disconnect from their phone or other things of interest, and constantly procrastinate getting things done. In addition, there are kids with ADHD who cannot sit still and are constantly moving around the room touching everything in sight. Furthermore, some kids with ADHD struggle a lot with reading, writing, and other subjects. 

At the same time, there are many people with ADHD who you might not even suspect have it. Many students with ADHD do well academically. There are also countless doctors, lawyers, and other professionals with ADHD, which illustrates that an ADHD diagnosis is not going to automatically stop one from being successful in a job. In these situations, people often have developed effective tools to cope, have picked careers that play to their strengths, or may struggle behind the scenes in ways that are not visible to others.

When individuals with ADHD struggle behind the scenes common issues that occur may include finishing projects at the last minute, working late to complete tasks, and needing lots of reminders and prompting to get things done. Disorganization with physical items (i.e., messy car, papers everywhere, trouble finding things) are quite common. Furthermore, conflicts with family members around shared tasks/difficulties with follow through, and other items may occur.

Obviously, the issues discussed above can have multiple causes, and are not always due to ADHD. However, I hope that this article gives you some real world insight into how ADHD manifests and impacts people, whether or not those items are directly visible to others.

For additional resources:

  1. Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller 
  2. ADHD Topic Expert Articles
  3. CHADD
  4. Dr. Heller’s ADHD Related Articles
  5. Fidgeting to Improve Focus

Copyright 2021 Carey Heller, Psy.D.

*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship.*