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The Many Faces of ADHD
The Many Faces of ADHD

by Andy Hurwitz, Student Support Specialist

Who am I? Am I defined by only one trait? No, I am a 32-year-old Jewish American, white, male, curly redheaded, blue eyed, adventurous, curious, cultured, and so much more. If I am all these characteristics, why are we so quick to classify everyone with the same disability as being defined by only that one trait?

In today's society, we have enshrined ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in pop culture as a defining, even cool trait.

So many people assume that if a child has ADHD, they will be the troublemaker in class. The child who acts out and can't sit still. That this child will run around randomly with no attention for the rules on the playground. Many of us associate ADHD with three buzz words: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In truth, it's so much more.

Individuals can have all of those symptoms, more symptoms, or no symptoms and still be diagnosed with ADHD. Confusing, right? Let take a look at symptoms:


  • losing HW, journals, work, or forgetting them at home
  • making mistakes
  • trouble following directions
  • choosing not to engage in activities
  • "shiny objects"
    • students get distracted easily and move on to something else without finishing what they're doing
    • on the other hand, it could be that they are hyper-focused and won't stop doing something until they are finished

Many of those symptoms of inattention are common in most children. It's called childhood—the frontal lobe is not fully developed. Children get bored easily; some don't listen very well or do their homework. It doesn't mean they have ADHD. Dana Baker Williams


  • running around
  • leaving their seat when they're not supposed to
  • talking excessively
  • fidgeting

Hyperactivity is a little easier to spot: running around; leaving their seat when they're not supposed to; talking excessively; fidgeting and squirming, and basically finding it hard to do anything at a leisurely pace. They are the ones who seem like they are always on the go—as if driven by a motor. But it can also just be the bouncing of a leg or the twirling of a ring. Dana Baker Williams


  • moody
  • reckless
  • impatient

They may find it difficult to wait their turn, intruding on or interrupting others' activities or blurting out answers to a question before it's completed. Or they can be accident-prone. Dana Baker Williams

Please remember as parents that ADHD is complicated, manifests differently in different people, and is ultimately just one trait among many in the people who have it.

Ms. Kwerel and I are here to support all Aidan's children to help them thrive in a Montessori environment. You can always reach me at

Blog entry based upon an article on written by Dana Baker Williams, Special Education Teacher & Author (