Make your own free website on
Home | Is My Child "Spirited" | Temperament Traits | Temperament and Parenting | Spiritedness Or Something More | ADD vs Gifted/talented children | Suggested Reading | Come Join Us
Is My Child Spirited Or Is It Something More......

One of the most commonly asked questions is, "how do I know if my child is just "spirited" or if it is something more like ADD/ADHD?" The only way to get that answer is to have your child thourghly evaluated. It is essential that a proper diagnosis is made before an appropriate treatment plan can be placed into action. There is no test for ADD. An evaluation in the following areas should be done:
  • physical exam - history and/or exam from a medical doctor
  • academic testing (including aptitude) - testing to find out IQ and if there are possible learning disabilities
  • psychological testing - testing to find if there are any emotional problems
  • behavioral testing - testing to see if there are any major behavioral problems
  • sometimes neurological testing
  • Also needed is a complete family history, parents and teacher rating scales on children. With all this information, the doctor can eliminate other problems that exhibit many of the same symptoms as ADD. Once a proper diagnosis has been made a treatment plan can be designed and placed into action.

Signs and Symptoms
Attention Deficit Disorder

IMPORTANT NOTE: Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level:


  1. often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or work

  2. often has difficulty sustaining attention task or play activities

  3. often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

  4. often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace  (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)

  5. often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities

  6. often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (homework)

  7. often loses things necessary for tasks or activities easily distracted by outside stimuli

  8. often forgetful in daily activities

IMPORTANT NOTE: Six or more of the following symptoms of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level:


  1.  often fidgets with hands or feet, squirms in seat

  2. often leaves seat in classroom or in situations in which remaining in seat is expected

  3. often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness.)

  4. often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly

  5. often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor"

  6. often talks excessively


  1. often blurts out answers before questions have been completed

  2. often has difficulty awaiting turn

  3. often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

The above signs and symptoms are taken from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual) IV that doctors use to diagnose ADD and other disorders. There are several types of ADD. Each type is based on specific criteria from some or all of the areas above, which can only be determined by your physician.

Common Misconception About ADD

1.  Many people assume ADDers cannot pay attention.  This is completely false.  In fact, ADDers are known to "hyperfocus" on anything which captures their attention, to the point where it is difficult to get their attention.   It is true, however, that a higher degree of interest is necessary before the ADDer can pay attention.  ADDers do not tune-out or daydream on purpose or to be rude.   Some people have likened it to having an on-off switch in the brain.  Interest is needed to activate or "turn on" the brain, after which the ADDer can pay attention.  If there is no interest, then the brain is "off" and the ADDer is likely to do something to try and get it back on.  This can include sensation seeking, daydreaming, or becoming immersed in something the ADDer finds very interesting. It can also include disruptive behavior.

Children who are gifted/talented children may also posess many of the characterics shown in children with ADD. For more information on this subject please click on the link at the top of the page ADD vs Gifted/talented children. 

Spirited children may also have other underlying issues. Many of these children will have certain aspects of different disorders, yet not have enough of the traits of one particular one to actually be diagnosed with the disorder. The following are list of some of the common disorders. You can click on the name to see more detailed information. 

Sensory Intergration Dysfunction (SID)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Aspergers/PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified)

Enter supporting content here