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  1. Topic Overview
  2. Attention Deficit Disorder Without Hyperactivity
  3. Attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD) | healthdirect

If so, your child may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD. Nearly everyone shows some of these behaviors at times, but ADHD lasts more than 6 months and causes problems in school, at home and in social situations. No one knows exactly what causes ADHD. It sometimes runs in families, so genetics may be a factor.

Topic Overview

There may also be environmental factors. A complete evaluation by a trained professional is the only way to know for sure if your child has ADHD. Treatment may include medicine to control symptoms, therapy, or both. Structure at home and at school is important. Parent training may also help. Children with ADHD who are inattentive, but not overly active, may appear to be spacey and unmotivated. But no matter how hard they try, they have trouble maintaining focus when the task at hand is boring or repetitive. Fact: Children with ADHD may do their best to be good, but still be unable to sit still, stay quiet, or pay attention.

Treatment can help your child learn to manage and minimize the symptoms.

Attention Deficit Disorder Without Hyperactivity

Fact: Medication is often prescribed for attention deficit disorder, but it might not be the best option for your child. Effective treatment for ADHD also includes education, behavior therapy, support at home and school, exercise, and proper nutrition. When many people think of attention deficit disorder, they picture an out-of-control kid in constant motion, bouncing off the walls and disrupting everyone around.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

But the reality is much more complex. Some children with ADHD are hyperactive, while others sit quietly—with their attention miles away. Some put too much focus on a task and have trouble shifting it to something else. Others are only mildly inattentive, but overly impulsive. The signs and symptoms a child with attention deficit disorder has depend on which characteristics predominate.

Attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD) | healthdirect

However, the symptoms of inattention have consequences: getting in hot water with parents and teachers for not following directions; underperforming in school; or clashing with other kids over not playing by the rules. By age four or five, though, most children have learned how to pay attention to others, to sit quietly when instructed to, and not to say everything that pops into their heads. So by the time children reach school age, those with ADHD stand out in all three behaviors: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Staying on track is another common problem. Children with ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skip necessary steps in procedures.

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Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children. Kids with 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. The most obvious sign of ADHD is hyperactivity.

While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of attention deficit disorder are always moving.

They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. Even when forced to sit still, which can be very difficult for them, their foot is tapping, their leg is shaking, or their fingers are drumming. The impulsivity of children with ADHD can cause problems with self-control. Children with impulsive signs and symptoms of ADHD also tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally.

As a result, others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy. Attention deficit disorder ADD is a neurological disorder that causes a range of behavior problems such as difficulty attending to instruction, focusing on schoolwork, keeping up with assignments, following instructions, completing tasks and social interaction.

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  8. In addition, students with ADD may have learning disabilities and are often at risk for repeated disciplinary problems in schools. In fact, adults and peers alike may conclude that such students are lazy because of their inattention to tasks and failure to follow through with assignments. While ADD is extremely common, misperceptions about the disorder continue to circulate. Students with these presentations have different symptoms. Children with the other two presentations of ADHD , for example, tend to act out or exhibit behavior problems in class.

    Children with ADD are generally not disruptive in school. They may even sit in class quietly, but that doesn't mean their disorder isn't a problem and that they're not struggling to focus. In addition, not all children with ADD are alike. Children with ADD without the hyperactivity component may appear to be bored or disinterested in classroom activities. They may be prone to daydreaming or forgetfulness, work at a slow pace and turn in incomplete work. Their assignment may look disorganized as well as their desks and locker spaces. They may lose materials at school and at home or misplace schoolwork and fail to turn in assignments.

    This can frustrate teachers, parents and result in the child earning poor marks in class. Behavior intervention may counter the child's forgetfulness. If you suspect your child has ADD with or without hyperactivity, talk to your child's school counselor, teacher or physician about appropriate treatment.