ADD is attention deficit disorder. It is characterized by a poor or short attention span and impulsiveness inappropriate for the child’s age, with or without hyperactivity. (With hyperactivity, it is called ADHD.) Hyperactivity is a level of activity and excitement in a child so high that it concerns the parents or caregivers. The diagnosis of ADD usually requires that the child display at least eight of the following symptoms.
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms while sitting (restlessness).
- Has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so.
- Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
- Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn in games or group situations.
- Has difficulty following instructions from others, even if the instructions are understood.
- Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
- Often shifts from one uncompleted task to another.
- Often talks excessively.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others.
- Often doesn’t seem to listen to what’s being said.
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities at school or at home.
- Often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences.
Diagnosis is based on the number, frequency, and severity of symptoms. Of course, this “diagnosis” depends on the subjective opinion of the observer. The symptoms are not unique to a child with ADD and a child without ADD may have one or more of the symptoms.