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Inattention in Children With ADHD

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Signs of Inattention in ADHD

Inattention is one of the aspects of ADHD that sometimes goes unnoticed. Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are more obvious because they cause disruptions at home and school. Because inattentive behavior can lead to deficits in school, it is important to recognize these symptoms in order to obtain appropriate treatment.

Some inattentive behaviors that parents and teachers should look out for include:
  • Failure to pay attention to details, often making careless mistakes on classwork.

  • Difficulty paying attention to the task at hand or easily distracted by extraneous sights and sounds.

  • Problems with organization and planning; may often lose items such as schoolwork, pens, books, or personal items.

  • Skipping from one activity to the next without finishing previous tasks.

Identifying Inattention

Predominantly Inattentive ADHD can go unnoticed because children with this type of ADHD do not display behavior that is particularly disruptive. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children with this type of ADHD rarely experience symptoms of impulsivity or hyperactivity. Often described as forgetful or sluggish, children experiencing symptoms of inattention need treatment just as much as those experiencing the more disrupting symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

How do you distinguish between normal childhood behavior and the symptoms of ADHD? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children with ADHD may also experience some of the following symptoms of inattention:
Children who are inattentive have a hard time keeping their minds on any one thing and may get bored with a task after only a few minutes. If they are doing something they really enjoy, they have no trouble paying attention. But focusing deliberate, conscious attention to organizing and completing a task or learning something new is difficult.
Homework is particularly hard for these children. They will forget to write down an assignment, or leave it at school. They will forget to bring a book home, or bring the wrong one. The homework, if finally finished, is full of errors and erasures. Homework is often accompanied by frustration for both parent and child.
Source: (1996) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder National Institute of Mental Health

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