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What is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

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The terms Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are often used interchangeably. They are actually the same condition, but were once believed to be separate. Over the last three decades, the all-encompassing name officially became ADHD.  


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has evolved to enclose more of the symptoms that persons with this disorder experience. ADHD is a developmental disorder identified by lack of attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. These characteristics interfere with a student’s ability to learn and apply specific skills or sets of information. While ADHD is diagnosed in childhood, it also occurs in adults. It ultimately affects the development of personal, social, academic, and occupational functioning.

There are 3 Types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD

1) Predominantly inattentive: 

Persons with inattentive ADHD experience inability to sustain focus, comprehend detailed instructions, and have a hard time in organizing tasks and activities because of limited attention span and are easily distracted, forgetful, or prone to procrastination.


2) Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive:

Persons with hyperactive ADHD have a continuous need to move such as tapping, fidgeting, or talking even in inappropriate situations. Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may feel uncomfortable or restless.


3) Combined: 

Persons with combined-type ADHD manifest six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

What are the Causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

It is not entirely known what causes ADHD, although there are many factors that are accepted to be responsible, such as:


  • Genetics: Several researchers suggest that ADHD is genetic; there is a high probability that a child has ADHD if the parents and siblings have ADHD themselves.
  • Drug Exposure
  • Nicotine and Cigarette Smoking
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain Damage
  • Nutritional (food additives)
  • Premature birth


Note: ADHD is a biological disorder based in the brain. Bad parenting, too much sugar, or playing too many video games do not cause a child to acquire Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


 Help Guide has good parenting tips on managing a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.Check out Healthline’s ADHD Do’s and Don’ts for Parents.

Does your Child Show the Following Signs and Symptoms of ADHD?

A child with ADHD will have a difficult time controlling these behaviors and will display them with much regularly:


1) Do you see signs of inattention?

  • Committing careless mistakes in school, at work, or during activities
  • Easily distracted and jumps from one activity to another
  • Easily gets bored with a task 
  • Has a hard time focusing attention and completing a task or activity
  • Inability to complete or turn in homework assignments
  • Losing things such as toys, a lunch box, and other things for school
  • Not listening when spoken to
  • Lacks motivation, wanders, and is often found daydreaming 
  • Slow in processing new information
  • Difficulty in following instructions and directions


2) Is your child hyperactive at most times?

  • Squirming, cannot sit still, and fidgeting 
  • Too talkative
  • Touching or playing with everything
  • Difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities


3) Are there indications of impulsivity?

  • Always impatient
  • Blurting out things or doing things with no regard for consequences
  • Poor at taking turns or sharing
  • Interrupting others

How is a Child Diagnosed for ADHD?

It is difficult to get a diagnosis for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder because the symptoms are similar to the normal behaviors in young children.  


The diagnosis of ADHD is clinical and can only be determined by a licensed clinician, such as a psychologist, which will include a comprehensive medical, educational developmental, and psychological evaluation. A child must show six of nine symptoms of inattention and hyper-impulsivity for a diagnosis to be given. While in adults, the symptoms have to be experienced since the age of twelve.

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 How is ADHD Treated?

No treatments are found to cure ADHD, but many exist which can assist with its management. Some of them include



ADHD medications help in reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity, it and improving the patient’s ability to work, focus, and learn. Prescriptions for both children and adults are either stimulant or non-stimulant.



        It is the most common type of medication to treat ADHD for it is effectiveness at reducing symptoms. Stimulants act fast, and there are only a few side effects.



        Physicians prescribe non-stimulant medication to those who do not experience the effectiveness of stimulants or suffer severely from their side effects.



A doctor or mental health professional may incorporate behavioral treatment. Structure, routine, and expectations that are clear would be good for a child with ADHD. This helps a child gain a sense of responsibility. This will also improve social skills of persons living with ADHD through sharing and connecting with peers.

What are the Strategies in Teaching Students with ADHD?

Teachers are more likely to be the first to notice symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in students. It is advisable to have your child checked and evaluated by a licensed psychologist if you suspect your child to have ADHD.  


Some strategies in teaching students with ADHD are to build a supportive, structured classroom that will boost self-esteem, motivate learning, and implement discipline for all students include:


  • Having rules and routines for ADHD students
  • Accommodations for ADHD in the classroom
  • Having positive relationships
  • Support of parents and partnering with them




Additude Mag [1] Williams, P. (2019, October 04). What are the three types of ADHD?. 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention [2] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA.

National Institutes of Health [3] Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. (n.d.).

Very Well Mind [4] Sinfield, J. (2019, September 09). How is ADHD treated for children and adults?

National Alliance on Mental Illness [5] ADHD. (2015, March).

Additude Mag [6] Dendy, C.Z. (2019, September 26). Teaching students with ADHD: Strategies that help every child shine.

Additude Mag [7] ADD vs. ADHD: What’s the Difference in Symptoms? 

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