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Reporting on ADHD
-Recognizing the Signs-

Brian NEW HeadshotA Message from Brian Dyak
EIC President,
CEO & Co-Founder

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed childhood disorders, affecting individuals through their youth and into adulthood. The stigma attached to ADHD includes the fact that symptoms are often perceived as laziness or incompetence but this is not the case. In your reporting it is important to recognize the signs of ADHD are not always easily identifiable, especially when it comes to adults. Think about ways that you can explore the subtleties of this condition and how the correct diagnosis and management plan can be life changing.

As you know, your work has an amazing ability to enter into our homes and our lives. Educating audiences about ADHD through detailed reporting and informative stories is a valuable service to those living with ADHD and their friends, family and colleagues. Read on for some useful information as well as some suggestions that will assist you with informing your audience about ADHD.
ADHD Pub Cover
Portions of this newsletter are adapted for the local media of SWPA from

Picture This: ADHD

Identifying ADHD
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes ADHD diagnosis as a multi-step process that includes a medical exam, hearing and vision tests, and interviews with parents and teachers to rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms to be observed. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, screening for ADHD in children 6-12 years old should take place when evidence of the
core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are present.

Some signs of ADHD may include:
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Daydreaming in class
  • Forgetfulness (e.g., forgets schedules, homework, or tests)
  • Constant movement
  • Impulsivity (i.e., acts without thinking of consequences)
  • Inability to sit still or play quietly
  • Seeming to ignore verbal instructions or conversations
  • Answering questions before they are finished
  • Interrupting others when they are speaking or presenting
It is important to note that everyone can experience ADHD-related symptoms throughout one’s life. Therefore, proper identification of this condition requires that the following criteria be met:
  • Symptoms have persisted for at least 6 months without improvement.
  • Symptoms manifest prior to age 7.
  • Symptoms occur in two different settings.
  • Symptoms are more frequent or severe than those of the child’s/adult’s peers.

 Symptoms of ADHD
may change over time...

Symptoms Chart ADHD

 Suggestions for
  reporting on ADHD
Exploring the signs of ADHD is key to increasing awareness about this condition and can also lead to more relatable coverage that allows your audience to recognize challenges, successes and emotions that may parallel their own reality or that of a loved one or friend. Consider these suggestions when crafting your stories about ADHD:
  • Symptoms of ADHD can present differently as the individual ages. Think about ways that you can showcase how the individual's experience with ADHD may change over time and identify how the symptoms may be experienced differently at different ages.
  • Poor parenting habits do not cause ADHD but they can make symptoms worse or more difficult to manage. Consider ways that you can highlight the importance of family support in promoting successful management of ADHD symptoms.
  • Every person experiences ADHD differently. Engage your audience  by integrating, where possible, the individual’s personal interpretations of their symptoms through first hand interviews.

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To set up your own FREE First Draft Consultation with one of our experts contact Susan Brozek Scott: 
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The 2nd Annual
Media & Mental Health Awards Winner Spotlight
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Marcie Cipriani
“D.A. Questions Why Western Psych Shooter Wasn't Committed”

Marci Cipriani from WTAE shares the horrifying story of a shooting at a Pittsburgh hospital. Marcia reports: Gunman John Shick, having a volatile and drug ridden past, was admitted to WPMC for an eight month stay with a history of mental illness. Feeling as though he was misdiagnosed Schick’s grudge against the hospital resulted in the shooting rampage.
View more here!

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