A’s in Neurodiversity
February 15, 2023
ADHD, ASD, and GAD, people who live with these are called lazy, immature, running like a motor, and the list goes on. While showing one or more symptoms does not mean a person has it; a person exhibiting symptoms might want to ask a medical professional who specializes in one of these disorders/illnesses.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is “…characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development” (DSM-5® Diagnostic Criteria | for Adult ADHD, n.d.). Symptoms of ADHD are split into two categories: inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsiveness.
Inattentiveness: having a short attention span, being easily distracted, making careless mistakes (e.g. homework), appearing forgetful or losing things, being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious and/or time-consuming, appearing to be unable to listen to and/or carry out tasks/instructions, jumping from one task to the next, difficulty organizing, and more (Website, 2022).
Hyperactivity/impulsiveness: being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings, constantly fidgeting, being unable to concentrate on tasks, excessive physical movement, excessive talking, being unable to wait their turn, acting without thinking, interrupting conversations, little or no sense of danger, and more (Website, 2022).
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is “…a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on its website over ASD. ASD symptoms are broken up into three categories by the CDC: social communication and interaction skills, restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests, and other characteristics.
Communication and interaction: avoiding or not keeping eye contact and symptoms based on age (Signs & Symptoms | Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | NCBDDD | CDC, 2023).
Restricted/repetitive behaviors: lines up toys or other objects, gets upset when order is changed; repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia), play with toys the same way every time, is focused on parts of objects (e.g. wheels), gets upset by minor changes, has obsessive interests, must follow certain routines, flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles, has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel, and more (Signs & Symptoms | Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | NCBDDD | CDC, 2023).
Other signs/characteristics: delayed language skills, delayed movement skills, delayed cognitive or learning skills, hyperactive, impulsive and/or inattentive behavior, epilepsy or seizure disorder, unusual eating and sleeping habits, gastrointestinal issues (e.g. constipation), unusual mood or emotional reactions, anxiety, stress, lack of fear or more fear than expected, and more.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is “a condition of excessive worry about everyday issues and situations (Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), 2023).” Symptoms include, but are not limited to feeling restless, wound-up, or on edge, being easily fatigued, having difficulty concentrating, being irritable, having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains, difficulty controlling feelings of worry, having sleep problems (such as difficulty falling or staying asleep), and more.
This is written by a high school student, not a medical professional, for a high school newspaper. Please consult a medical professional if the aforesaid describes you. This story is written to raise awareness of ADHD, ASD, and GAD.