Characteristics of ADD and ADHD
From time to time all children will be inattentive, impulsive, and overly active. In the case of AD/HD, these behaviors are the rule, not the exception. AD/HD is diagnosed according to certain characteristics described in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), known as DSM-IV. A child with AD/HD is often described as having a short attention span and as being distractible. The child will have difficulty with one or all parts of the attention process: focusing, sustaining focus, and shifting focus.
According to DSM-IV (pp. 83-84), some symptoms of inattention include: failure to give close attention to details, making careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities, having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities, often having difficulty following through on instructions; may fail to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions), often avoidant, adverting, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (schoolwork and homework), and often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
According to DSM-IV (p. 84), some symptoms of hyperactivity include: often fidgeting with hands or feet or squirms in seat, often leaving seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected, often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly and often talks excessively. Impulsiveness with AD/HD appears when children act before thinking.
Some symptoms of impulsivity include: often blurts out answers before questions have been completed, often has difficulty waiting turn, often interrupts or intrudes on others.