Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has been documented in medical literature since 1903 and has been called a variety of names, including Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood, Hyperkinetic Syndrome, Hyperactive Child Syndrome, Minimal Brain Damage, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, and Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, without Hyperactivity, and Residual Type (APA, 1980). The essential features of this disorder are signs of developmentally inappropriate inattention and impulsivity. The DSM-III (R) (APA, 1987), lists 14 symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (hereafter referred to simply as ADD), any eight of which can constitute a valid diagnosis.
The symptoms are listed in descending order of discriminating power and are based on a national field trial of DSM-III (R) diagnostic criteria for Disruptive Behavior Disorders, of which ADD is one. The signs of ADD are as follows:
2)has difficulty staying seated when required
3)is easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli
4)has difficulty waiting his/her turn in group situations
5)often blurts out answers before the question is finished
6)has difficulty following through on instructions (not due to oppositional behavior or incomprehension)
7)has difficulty sustaining attention in work or play
8)often goes from one uncompleted activity to another
11)often interrupts or disrupts others
12)often doesn't seem to listen or hear what's being said
13)often loses things necessary for activities at home or school
14)often acts in physically dangerous ways without thinking of consequences (not for thrill-seeking).
The Dsm-III (R) also requires that the disturbance has its onset before the age of seven, lasts at least six months, and does not meet the criteria for a Pervasive Developmental Disorder. It also includes a second category, called Undifferentiated Attention Deficit Disorder in which the predominant feature is the persistence o...