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Everyone has occasional difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behavior. For some children and adults, however, the problem is so pervasive and persistent that it interferes with their daily lives at home, at school, at work, and in social settings. 

What is ADHD?

The majority of Australian physicians base their diagnosis of ADHD on the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatrists’ Association (1994). These criteria are listed under three core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. DSM-IV specifies three subtypes of ADHD, namely ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type, ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type, and ADHD Combined Type.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD is the old name for the ‘predominantly inattentive’ subtype. ADD is an old term that was removed from the diagnostic manual in 1994, but it is still in common usage. The correct name for the condition is now Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This can lead to confusion because hyperactivity is not a symptom that is exhibited by all individuals.

ADHD Predominantly Inattentive type

This is defined by an individual experiencing at least six of the following characteristics:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
  • Often has difficulty organising tasks or activities
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities

Websites that you may find helpful:

Every day with ADHD:

Learning and Attention Disorder Society of Western Australia:

Adults with ADHD:

The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service:

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder:

ADDitude Living well with Attention Deficit:

This printable guide offers suggestions on how to approach educators about your child’s ADHD:

This guide has a wealth of information on how to support your child at home by fostering a salm, soothing environment.

If you suspect you have ADHD, this resource provides excellent information on factors your doctor considers in diagnosing you, as well as some of your treatment options.

For adults and children alike, there are an array of activities to try that can help ease ADHD symptoms.