These can be associated with excessive physical activity or not and include:
- An inability to pay attention, including a lack of attention to details, difficulty sustaining attention, doesn't appear to listen when spoken to, often doesn't follow through on instructions and fails to finish tasks, has difficulty organizing activities and tends to avoid tasks that require sustained mental effort, loses things, is easily distracted and is forgetful.
- Impulsiveness, including blurting out answers to questions that haven't been finished yet, has a hard time waiting his or her turn and often interrupts or intrudes on others
- Increased rates of activity, which can range from restlessness to full hyperactivity
- Hyperactivity may or may not be present. If it is the child will fidget or squirm, often leave his or her seat, runs about or climbs excessively, has difficulty engaging in quiet activities, is often on the go and talks compulsively
- Reluctance to participate of respond
The inability to pay attention and the impulsiveness tend to make it difficult for a child to develop academic skills, the ability to reason or create strategies or to be motivated by school. Symptoms tend to be task and environment related.
Causes and Risk Factors
ADD tends to occur in families and is common in first-degree biological relatives. The combination of ADD with hyperactivity occurs 10 times more often in boys than girls.
The causes are not yet known. In fewer than five percent of children with ADD, signs of neurologic damage. The leading belief is that there are abnormalities in chemistry of the brain. Other factors (such as toxins, a lack of neurologic development, infections, prenatal exposure to drugs, injuries or environmental conditions) may also play a role.
Some experts believe that ADD is a difference rather than a disorder in the chemistry of the brain. This results in a different approach to learning, which requires more hands-on learning.