ADHD and ADD in Children: What are the differences?

//ADHD and ADD in Children: What are the differences?

ADHD and ADD in Children: What are the differences?

A child will not be diagnosed with an Attention Deficit Disorder unless they exhibit 6 or more of the 18 characteristics (in two settings) associated with ADD or ADHD. With the diagnosis, your grandchild will be eligible for special modifications and accommodations to help him with his school work.

Attention Deficit Disorders are complex neurobiological disorders and can affect both personal and academic interactions. Physicians, Child Psychologists, and Teachers are more aware of the characteristics associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) than they were when our children were in school.

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder share some basic characteristics, yet they are also different in some ways.

Children who have ADHD tend to be:

  • hyperactive
  • energetic
  • talkative
  • outgoing

Children with ADD tend to be:

  • low energy
  • introverted
  • less likely to talk in class
  • daydreamers

Note: any given child with ADD/ADHD will have some, but probably not all, of the characteristics given below.

Similarities: Students with ADD and ADHD share these characteristics:

  • impulsivity (may decrease some as child matures)
  • inattention
  • trouble getting started on homework or schoolwork
  • poor sustained attention (persistence on tasks)
  • problems with written expression and math
  • poor handwriting (fine motor skills)
  • short-term memory problems
  • working memory problems

Differences: Students with ADHD and ADD also have very distinct differences. However, students with combined type ADHD will have symptoms from both columns:

ADHD (hyperactive-impulsive type)ADD (inattentive type)
hyperactivehas low energy, not hyperactive
out of seatsits in seat daydreaming
talkativequiet, less talkative
blurts out answersslow to respond in class
talks and acts before thinkingslow processing speed
(seems confused at times)
slow retrieval of information
slow perceptual-motor speed
slow writing
class clownquiet, socially distant
difficulty making and keeping friends
misses social cues
gets along better with peers

Less Common Characteristics: The following behaviors are not present in all students with ADD or ADHD, but when present, they are more likely to be associated with the type of attention deficit noted.

ADHD (hyperactive-impulsive type)ADD (inattentive type)
aggressionanxiety; may reduce impulsivity
oppositionalless oppositional behavior
defiance; conduct disorderless defiance

Source: Teaching Teens with ADD and ADHD, A quick reference guide for teachers and parents by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, M.S.

For further information on diagnosing ADHD or ADD, read the following article in its entirety at

Diagnosing ADHD in Children, By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

“These symptoms must be present for at least 6 months in two or more settings, e.g., school and at home; play and at school; etc. If the symptoms have not been present for at least 6 months or the child meets the criteria only in one setting (e.g., school only), then ADHD should not be diagnosed.”

If your child does not meet the above criteria for ADD or ADHD, there may be other underlying causes for your child’s behavior such as a learning disaiblity, depression, anxiety, or difficulty with peer relationships. Keeping a daily journal may help you realize a reoccuring pattern with notable triggers. Ongoing discussions with your child’s teachers, guidance counselor, and physician may help determine the reason for the behavior.

2017-09-07T00:06:09+00:00 By |Categories: Reviews & Recommendations|0 Comments

About the Author:

Grandmother of 5 great kids, retired special ed high school teacher, married since 1972 to Poppy…loves spoiling the grands, crocheting for whomever I can and charities, reading, crafts, outdoors, and blogging.

Leave A Comment