Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are disorders that interfere with the learning process because they reduce the ability to pay attention.

It is important to understand that ADD and ADHD are not disabilities in the learning process, although they may be present in addition to a learning disability. A learning disability is a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to learn.

ADD and ADHD are two of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. These disorders can cause impaired functioning in multiple settings, including in homes, schools, and relationships with peers.

If one person in a family is diagnosed with ADHD, there is a 25 to 35 percent probability that another family member also has ADHD, compared to afour to six percent probability for someone in the general population.


Symptoms of ADD and ADHD appear over the course of many months and include:

  • Impulsiveness (acts quickly without thinking first);
  • Hyperactivity is seen in ADHD (can’t sit still, walks, runs, or climbs around when others are seated, talks when others are talking);
  • Inattention (daydreams or seems to be in another world, is sidetracked by what is going on around him or her);
  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes;
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly;
  • Often fails to follow instructions carefully and completely;
  • Loses or forgets important things;
  • Feels restless, often fidgets with hands or feet, squirms, runs, or climbs excessively;
  • Often talks excessively;
  • Often blurts out answers before hearing the whole question (has difficulty waiting his or her turn).

Many people who have one of these disorders lead very productive lives, and a wide variety of treatment options are available.