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Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are types of developmental disabilities that are estimated to affect between 3-5 percent of all children. The disorder is characterized by three predominant features: inattentiveness, impulsivity, and in many but not all cases, hyperactivity. Recent studies show that ADD can and does continue through the adult years.


Inattention: Individuals have a short attention span and are distractible. Difficulty concentrating (particularly on tasks that are routine), listening, beginning or finishing tasks, and following directions (especially when three or more steps are given at once) are characteristic of individuals with ADD or ADHD.

Impulsivity: An individual with ADD or ADHD often acts without thinking and has great difficulty waiting for his/her turn. The student may rush through assignments, shift excessively from one task to another, or frequently call out irrelevant questions in class. This individual will often interrupt others and have outbursts of inappropriate responses such as silliness or anger.

Hyperactivity: Many but not all individuals with ADD or ADHD are hyperactive. This individual climbs or runs excessively, has difficulty sitting still, fidgets, and engages in activities unrelated to the task, such as frequent pencil sharpening, falling out of a chair or desk, finger tapping, or fiddling with objects. Some individuals with ADD or ADHD are hyperactive or under-active and are often called lazy or spacey.

Disorganization: Inattentiveness and impulsivity often lead to disorganization. This individual frequently forgets needed materials or assignments, loses his or her place, and has difficulty following sequences.

Social Skill Deficits: The individual with ADD or ADHD is frequently described as immature, lacking in self-awareness and sensitivity, and demanding of attention. The individual may frustrate easily and be inconsiderate, overly sensitive, or emotionally over-reactive. He/she may have difficulty expressing feelings, or accepting responsibility for behavior, or may get into fights or arguments frequently.


Seating in front of class.
Minimizing of distractions by seating away from doors and windows.
Extended time to complete exams.
Administer exams in a non-distracting environment.
Tape lectures.
In-class note taker.
Medication prescribed by physician.
Class scheduling assistance.


Provide opportunity for student to work standing up or pacing.
Arrange frequent breaks.
Ignore inappropriate interruptions.
Provide outline for lectures.
Highlight key concepts.
Give directions in writing.
Utilize study guides for exams.
Use a multi-sensory teaching approach.
Extended time testing for exams and assignments.
Provide detailed class syllabus.

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