It's not defiance but it sometimes appears that way.
ADHD is not just an inability to sustain and direct attention. It often involves a variety of other cognitive problems. Attention is a critical component of processing information we hear with our ears. This process can become disrupted when ADHD is present. The ADHD person either hears only bits and pieces of the information, or sometimes the information may seem garbled like multiple radio stations playing over each other.
An ADHD child with an auditory processing condition can also be frustrating; you actually may interpret his/her behavior as defiance. For example, you ask him to go to his bedroom, put his pajamas on, brush his teeth, and get in bed. You go to his bedroom an hour later and he's sitting on the edge of the bed playing a hand held video game. He never put on his pajamas, never brushed his teeth, and he's obviously not in bed. Your frustration increases as this behavior appears to be pure defiance. An argument typically ensues. If you understand it's not defiance, you can approach this situation differently. He just didn't process what you said after, "Go to your bedroom."
Child Mind Institute has a resource page to help you become familiar with the signs of an auditory processing disorder:
Frequently, an ADHD child or adult may process either the very first instruction you give or the very last. Anything in between is just not processed. So, multiple step directions are difficult for ADHD persons and should be avoided. Giving simple directions and having the person repeat them helps get things done efficiently. It will also help you maintain your sanity. Getting your child's teacher to follow this process can make a significant difference in your child's performance at school.
Click here to view Play Attention's Auditory Processing Exercise.
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