Major Characteristics Although normal individuals, particularly young children, show some of these features, what distinguishes ADHD is the greater degree and frequency with which these characteristics are displayed for a person of a particular age.
Inattention or poor persistence on many tasks, particularly those that are tedious, boring, and long. The individual becomes bored rapidly during repetitive tasks, shifts from one uncompleted activity to another, frequently loses concentration during tasks, and fails to complete assignments. • Impulsivity or difficulty delaying gratification. Difficulty being able to stop and think before acting; difficulty waiting his or her turn; not being able to work for larger, longer-term rewards; and not being able to inhibit behavior, as a situation demands. • Excessive irrelevant activity or poorly regulated activity to situational demands. Individuals with ADHD are often excessively fidgety, restless, and “on the go.” They display movement that is not needed to complete a task, such as wriggling feet and legs, tapping things, rocking, or shifting position while performing relatively boring tasks. Trouble sitting still or inhibiting movement as a situation demands is often seen in younger children. ADD without Hyperactivity: Individuals who exhibit attention problems but do not display excessive activity levels are considered to have ADHD, Predominately Inattentive, (formerly called Undifferentiated Attention Deficit Disorder). This disorder appears less likely to be associated with aggression or conduct problems and may have a greater association with learning disabilities and with a personal or family history of anxiety. Also, this subtype is less likely to have early onset and may not be noticeable until academic demands requiring attention increase.