Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and its characteristics.

August 2, 2021

Individuals experiencing ADHD may display patterns of inattention, impulsivity, and overactive behaviour that may interfere with daily functioning. For students, these patterns may be the root of their misbehaviour leading to serious academic problems. 


Typical characteristics relating to  ADD/ADHD that may interfere with learning are:


1. Inattention/deficits in concentration:

  • Difficulty tuning in class; may fantasize, space out and miss lecture content and homework assignments;
  • Lack of attention to detail: makes “careless mistakes” in work; doesn’t notice errors in grammar, punctuations, capitalization, spellings, or changes in signs (+,-,x) or exponents in math;
  • Difficulty staying on at task or at school work; distractible: moves from one uncompleted task to another; when distracted have difficulty refocusing on work;
  • Lack of awareness of grades; may not know if passing or failing a class.


2. Impulsivity:

  • Rushes through work: doesn’t read directions;
  • Takes shortcuts in written work (such as doing math in his head);
  • May not read the whole question before giving a solution;
  • Does not double check work (a greater problem with children having ADHD);
  • Difficulty delaying gratification: gives up working for rewards working in too distant future.

3. Hyperactivity

  • Often experiences issues playing or taking part in relaxation exercises unobtrusively;
  • Often runs about or climbs unreasonably in circumstances where it is inappropriate;
  • Often talks excessively;
  • Regularly squirms with hands or feet or wriggles in their seat. 



The above characteristics of ADD/ADHD can lead to common learning problems affecting their academic development. Some of these common learning problems are:



1. LANGUAGE DEFICITS

Deficits marked with asterisk (*) are considered Specific Learning Disabilities.


1.1 SPOKEN LANGUAGE* ( ORAL EXPRESSION)

• Talks a lot spontaneously (ADHD), if he choose the topic

• Has difficulty responding to questions, when he must think and give organized and concrete answers; may talk less or give rambling answers.

• Reluctant to speak in class (ADD) because of slow processing speed and difficulty in organizing ideas ; may even be willing to accept failing grades rather than speak in front of the class.


1.2 WRITTEN LANGUAGE* ( VERBAL EXPRESSION; INPUT AND OUTPUT)

• Slow reading and writing; takes longer to complete written work, produces less written work.

• Difficulty writing essays; difficulty in organizing ideas and putting them in proper sequence.

• Difficulty getting ideas out of head and on paper; written test answers, discussion questions may be brief.

• Written expression may be adversely affected by deficits in working memory and analysis, sequencing and synthesis.


1.3 MATH COMPUTATION*:

• Difficulty automatizing basic math facts

• Cannot quickly retrieve  and use basic math facts such as multiplication tables, division, addition or subtraction facts


1.4 LISTENING COMPREHENSION:

• Difficulty following directions: becomes confuse with lengthy verbal directions, may not “hear” or pick out homework assignments from a teacher’s lecture

• Loses main point; difficulty identifying key points while taking notes.


1.5 READING COMPREHENSION*:

• Can’t remember what is read, then has to read it 

• Difficulty understanding and remembering what is read; difficulty with long reading passages

• Makes errors when reading silently; may skip words, phrases or lines; may lose pace while reading

• Difficulty identifying and remembering key facts from reading.



It is important for parents, educators and counsellors to be aware of ADD/ADHD characteristics and how it can impact their learning and academic performance. Being aware is the first step in helping students with ADD/ADHD to improve their learning.


Author:

Shruti Sethi

Hi! I am Shruti Sethi, gold medallist in B.ed (learning Disability). I am working as a special educator with one of the leading schools in Delhi. I firmly believe that every child has some unique ability; we just have to harness it to make him reach his truest potential.