Many people assume a child with ADD will run screaming like a wild banshee through the supermarket, school, or any other inappropriate place they happen to be in; however, that is rarely the case. The term “hyperactive” and ADD are sometimes used interchangeably, but this is not accurate. The true symptoms of ADD may be less obvious than that of the tantrum-thrower in the mall.
Attention Deficit Disorder most often makes itself apparent as extreme inattentiveness. While most children go through spells of lack of concentration, with an ADD child, it actually hinders day to day activities. This is displayed by having a short attention span, being easily distracted, and not paying attention to details, all more so than an average child of the same age. You may notice a child with ADD becoming sidetracked with very little noise or activity that other people may not even notice.
Impulsiveness is another symptom of ADD. A child that interrupts constantly, has an inability to wait their turn, or blurts out answers in class may be exhibiting signs of Attention Deficit Disorder. This characteristic shows a lack of process in action – not thinking before acting. For most people, a thought comes to mind, they consider it, and then choose to act or not act on it. However, with ADD, the idea enters a child’s mind and is almost instantly enacted, with little consideration to consequences. This comes across as the child not being able to control themselves.
Another possible symptom of ADD is hyperactivity. Although this is not present in all children, it is exhibited in many. A child with ADD and hyperactivity may talk excessively, fidget, have a difficult time sitting still, climb or run excessively, and often displays these behaviors at inappropriate times. Most children are active; however, interference with daily life is a sign of a problem.
The key to diagnosing Attention Deficit Disorder is excessiveness in the above characteristics. Almost all children will exhibit these traits occasionally, but they must actually create a difficulty on a regular basis to point to ADD. They must also be inappropriate for the age of the child. Most younger children will be more inattentive, impulsive, or hyperactive; however, with age, these behaviors are usually controlled. For this reason, a child must be compared to other children of the same age to accurately analyze if their actions are excessive. More in-depth information is provided on the symptoms and signs of ADD in ebook 2 of “Attention Deficit Disorder Explained From Child to Adult”.