An attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a weakness in the brain’s ability to focus on important sensory information. A student’s ability to processes information from a teacher’s words, music, video, and written text may be affected as well as his ability to filter out unimportant information. If the person with ADD also has hyperactivity, they are described as having ADD with hyperactivity, or ADHD. Biological causes are at the root of ADHD.

People with ADD may appear dreamy or off in another world, while those with ADHD have difficulty sitting still. Problems controlling impulsive behaviors and thoughts are common. ADHD affects 4% to 12% of school-aged children, occurring more frequently in boys than girls. An inability to integrate in social, academic, or work-related settings is a pattern seen in people with a history of ADD/ADHD.
Students with ADD/ADHD may experience:

  • Inability to attend to a teachers’ instructions.
  • Auditory and visual confusion.
  • Hypersensitivity to visual and tactile sensations may exist
  • Processing directions is difficult and complex problem solving is likely to be difficult.
  • Hyper-sensitive olfactory systems can cause everyday smells to seem overwhelming.

ADD/ADHD is diagnosed on the basis of a combination of symptoms which must interfere seriously with at least two major areas of a person’s life. These symptoms must show constantly for at least 6 months and they must negatively affect social, academic or occupational functioning.There are no specific blood tests, scans, or electronic tests of brain activity that are particularly helpful in making the diagnosis.

It’s important to treat ADD/ADHD before it seriously affects relationships, jobs, and school performance. People with ADD/ADHD are as intelligent and capable as anyone else and can lead happy, successful lives with the right help.

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