The three primary characteristics of ADD/ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The signs and symptoms a child with attention deficit disorder has depends on which characteristics predominate.

Children with ADD/ADHD may be:

  • Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive
  • hyperactive and impulsive but able to pay attention
  • inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive (the most common form of ADD/ADHD).

It isn’t that children with ADD/ADHD can’t pay attention: when they are doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they are interested in they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. but when the task is repetitive or boring they quickly tune out.

Staying on track is another common problem. Children with ADD/ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skip necessary steps in procedures. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children.

Children with ADD/ADHD also have trouble concentrating if there are things going on around them: they usually need a calm, quiet environment in order to stay focused.