Attention Deficit Disorder without hyperactivity appears more difficult to determine than Attention Deficit Disorder with hyperactivity. As individuals with ADD are not physically overly restless, their behaviour does not usually attract attention. The serious, silent inattentive component can be easily overlooked. Also, girls identified with ADD seem to be diagnosed later than boys and in significantly fewer numbers. Debate continues as to whether boys have an increased propensity to be identified with this disorder, or whether traditional community attitudes overlook this difficulty in girls because generally they appear more compliant and responsive.
Problems are viewed through behaviours related to poor planning, poor conversion of thoughts to written work and reduced work output. In classic circumstances, children with ADD seem in a world of their own. They drift off, daydream and are noticed gazing or staring. Their quiet, constant inattentiveness impacts heavily on starting and finishing tasks not to their liking: getting organised in the morning, successfully retrieving an item from another room, remembering instructions, eating snacks and helping out around the house. When they are asked to help, and do comply, they are likely to mishear and tackle the task incorrectly. They have an inclination to become overly absorbed by computer games, television, magazines or books for long periods to the exclusion of other more urgent activities. Friendship difficulties can be a feature as their lack of attending inhibits keeping up with the pace of interaction. The luckier ones build friendships with quieter children who over time appreciate their individual style.
At school their inattentiveness cunningly undermines completion of written work. Sometimes they start well enough, but lose the thread. At other times starting schoolwork can be difficult: they are not sure where to start, appearing unsettled, uncertain of instructions, unsure which resources are needed and where they might be. Typically, their desks, lockers, schoolbags and bedrooms are in disarray, reflecting, to a large extent, their internal disorganisation. These children and young adolescents can also carry the burden of associated learning difficulties. Interestingly, there is likely to be a person somewhere in the family who has similar characteristics, as Attention Deficit Disorder without hyperactivity is viewed as an inherited condition.