What is ADHD

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in ADHD on September 20, 2022
Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed or know someone who is, you may be wondering—What is ADHD? Learn about this condition and how text to speech can help.

    What is ADHD?

    ADHD is short for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, previously known just as attention deficit disorder (ADD). Even though it falls into the category of mental illnesses according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, it’s more of a hyperactive-impulsive neurodevelopmental disorder.

    Psychiatry also describes ADHD as a behavioral condition that prevents executive functions like focusing, concentrating, and being calm while going about both simple and complex activities. ADHD symptoms can cause challenges while working, attending classes, studying, as well as in other social occasions that might stir feelings of anxiety.

    Some people with ADHD can also have learning difficulties, such as difficulty reading and comprehending study material. As such, it’s recommended that people with ADHD use assistive tools to overcome their struggles. Such tools include text to speech apps that can help them comprehend written content better.

    What is ADHD, and what are the symptoms?

    There are many potential causes of ADHD. One cause is genetics, which means that family members who have it show a prevalence of passing it on to their children. Nevertheless, there are other risk factors like brain injury, low birth weight, and exposure to certain environmental factors.

    Numerous symptoms can help you evaluate whether you or someone you know has this attention disorder. Symptoms can be detected during someone’s early age but are more pronounced when a child starts school, although even adults can be diagnosed with ADHD later on in life if they never received a diagnosis as a child.

    Although symptoms of hyperactivity are easier to spot in a child’s behavior, there’s more than just childhood ADHD. Many people have adolescent or adult ADHD, whose symptoms can negatively impact their mental health and self-esteem. Even if symptoms become milder with time, neuroscience professionals suggest treating behavioral disorders like ADHD and anxiety disorders as early as possible.

    In essence, you can separate ADHD symptoms into two groups:

    • Concentrating and focusing troubles

    • Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can only have one or the other. Many people with ADHD experience both poor concentration and focus, as well as periods of impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

    Some of the most common ADHD symptoms include:

    • Short attention span

    • Constantly fidgeting and squirming without self-control

    • Inability to stick to tasks that take more time

    • Poor organizing skills

    • Being forgetful

    • Inattentive presentation

    • Excessive talking

    • No sense of danger

    • Not waiting on your turn

    What are the treatment options for ADHD?

    The best way to treat ADHD is a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and behavioral therapy. By doing so, people can live healthy and quality lives, regardless of their diagnosis of ADHD. Of course, only your healthcare provider can suggest what medications to take and what therapy to partake in. We’ll only mention some of the more common medications and methods here.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognize several licensed stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD medications. These include:

    • Methylphenidate

    • Lisdexamfetamine

    • Dextroamphetamine

    • Atomoxetine

    • Guanfacine

    How can ADHD be managed effectively?

    Living with ADHD comes with some unique challenges. However, even if symptoms interfere with day-to-day life functions, with proper management, people can overcome the obstacles set by ADHD and achieve great things.

    A great place to start is the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) magazine. Aside from offering basic information about this disorder, it provides information on treatment plans for all ages.

    For example, if your child has ADHD, CHADD magazine recommends that you help plan their day. Setting up routines can see huge benefits. On the other hand, it is also suggested to be positive, set boundaries, and explain to others what they can expect from your child.

    Learning disability tools—Text to speech readers

    Aside from therapy and medication, you can make life easier for your child or yourself with assistive tools. Namely, since people with ADHD can have a hard time reading, it’s key to find ways to stay focused in order to better comprehend the text. This is especially important while attending school or studying for an exam.

    Some of the best assistive tools for consuming written content are audiobooks. However, not all the necessary material has an audio version. In those cases, you can always use text to speech (TTS) apps to convert any digital text (and sometimes even print text) into fully audible speech. Therefore, allow us to introduce you to the best TTS tool out there—Speechify.


    Speechify is a perfect companion for anyone with ADHD, dyslexia, or vision impairment. This is a text to speech app that’s based on advanced AI, powerful machine learning, and optical character recognition (OCR). As such, it can transcribe any text into speech with a fully natural-sounding voice.

    Speechify offers more than 30 voice-overs and is compatible with more than 15 languages aside from just English. You can slow down or speed up the AI narrator to your liking, as well as highlight individual passages that you want to listen to. Another key feature is that you can snap photos of text in physical form and Speechify will turn it into audio.

    Aside from its functionality and high-end user-friendliness, Speechify is also popular due to it being available on all relevant platforms. You can use it as an app on iOS and Android devices, as well as on your Windows or macOS computer. On the latter, Speechify comes as a plug-in for Google Chrome or Safari web browser.

    Speechify is first and foremost an accessibility tool for people with conditions such as dyslexia and ADHD, and you will find its text to speech features a great help in staying focused while reading, studying, or even proofreading your work.


    What does ADHD do to a person?

    Due to brain differences, ADHD affects a person’s attention and behavior in various ways. For instance, people with ADHD have greater difficulty limiting distractions. ADHD makes it hard to focus, listen, and wait in line. The effects of ADHD are present everywhere—at work, school, home, and on social occasions.

    What are the nine symptoms of ADHD?

    • Impulsive behavior

    • Being disorganized

    • A lack of time management skills

    • Trouble focusing on schoolwork

    • Having trouble multitasking

    • Making careless mistakes

    • Daydreaming

    • Being unable to plan properly

    • Being easily frustrated

    What are the most common treatments for ADHD?

    Most doctors recommend the use of stimulant medication, along with psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. The following ADHD treatment medications are most often prescribed:

    • Methylphenidate

    • Norepinephrine

    • Lisdexamfetamine

    • Ritalin

    • Adderall

    • Dexamfetamine

    • Atomoxetine

    • Guanfacine

    Although they can help people focus better, concentrate, feel calmer, be less impulsive, and learn and practice new skills, none of these medications are a permanent solution for any type of ADHD. Some of these are meant for daily use, while others are just for specific occasions like going to school, work, or social occasions, due to side effects and overall mental health conditions.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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