A child with ADD/ADHD is often described as having a short attention span, is impulsive and in many cases but not all, is restless or hyperactive
As a general guide, at least 8 of the following behaviours must be present for at least 6 months before the age of seven:
- Butts into other children's game, interrupts often and doesn't listen
- Has difficulty remaining seated and easily distracted
- Has difficulty awaiting turns
- Fidgets with hands or feet
- Has difficulty playing quietly
- Often talks excessively
- Has difficulty following through instructions
- Often blurts out answers to questions before they have been asked
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
At pre-school: Supervisors may notice the child's short attention span, possibly hyperactivity, and/or inappropriate behaviour.
At school: Teachers at school may describe children as restless, inattentive, easily distracted and overly impulsive, sometimes lazy, unmotivated and naughty.
In school, children and teenagers with ADD/ADHD may have problems with organising their work, listening to instructions, writing neatly and finishing their assignments. Often they suffer learning difficulties, have social problems, as their “difference” isolates them from other children. Often ADD/ADHD co-exists with other disorders such as learning disabilities. However, when they are interested in something like TV they have no trouble concentrating!
Of course, not all children exhibiting these symptoms have ADD/ADHD. Emotional difficulties within the child or lack of motivation can cause similar behaviour.
The significant difference for ADD/ADHD children is that under normal conditions, they lack the physical ability to control their behaviour.