Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)


The three primary characteristics of ADD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The signs and symptoms of attention deficit disorder may vary.  Most children show some of the characteristics below at one time or another, which can be age appropriate. But a child with ADD typically shows these characteristics before the age of seven, and the behavior is consistent over a period of years. A child with ADD will demonstrate a number of these characteristics when they are not deemed age-appropriate and are not caused by a specific situation.

ADD would fall under the category of “Other Health Impaired” (OHI) under IDEA. To receive special education services and be eligible under the category of OHI, the ADD diagnosis would need to be documented by a medical doctor, and the student’s educational performance must be adversely affected.

  • Difficulty organizing tasks
  • Difficulty staying on task and maintaining effort
  • Difficulty with transitions or prioritizing tasks, following instructions, and completing school work or projects
  • Frequently loses or misplaces items such as homework, books, toys
  • Becomes easily distracted
  • Difficulty remembering daily activities
  • Doesn’t pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has trouble staying focused
  • May appear not to listen when spoken to
  • Has trouble planning ahead

  • Has difficulty remaining seated and talks excessively
  • Has difficulty listening to others
  • Becomes easily distracted while reading
  • Constantly fidgets and squirms
  • Often leaves seat in situations where sitting is expected 
  • Moves around constantly, often running or climbing inappropriately
  • Talks excessively and has difficulty playing quietly
  • Seems to be “on the go” and always moving, as if driven by a motor
  • May try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next
  • May become aggressive
  • May become easily frustrated
  • May have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another

  • Speaks or acts without considering consequence
  • Problems with self-control
  • Blurts out answers without waiting to be called on
  • Has difficulty waiting to take turns
  • May often disrupt other children's play, interrupt conversations, and answer questions not intended for them
  • Inability to keep emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
  • May be moody and overreact emotionally, resulting in others viewing the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy

Strategies for Attention Deficit Disorder