Gap Academy
4 John Street, Toronto, Ontario   M9N 1J3   416  249-1500
An innovative approach to teaching pre-teens and adolescents with  learning disabilities.
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Symptoms of ADD and ADHD

The year 2000 Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) provides criteria
for diagnosing ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
The criteria are presented here in modified form; they are listed here for information purposes and
should be used only by trained health care providers to diagnose or treat ADHD.  

Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is
disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:

1.        Inattention.
2.        Inattention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
3.        Trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
4.        Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
5.        Not following instructions, failure  to complete work.
6.        Oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions.
7.        Trouble organizing activities.
8         Dislikes things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time.
9.        Is often easily distracted.
10.      Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an
extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:

1.        Hyperactivity.
2.        Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
3.        Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
4.        Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate or very restless.
5.        Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
6.        Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor".
7.        Often talks excessively.


1.        Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
2.        Often has trouble waiting one's turn.
3.        Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
4.        Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.
5.        Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings.
5,        There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.
6.        The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a PDD, or other psychotic disorder.

Based on these criteria, three types of ADHD are identified:

1.        ADHD, Combined Type: if both criteria 1A and 1B are met for the past 6 months
2.        ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type: if criterion 1A is met but criterion 1B is not met for the past 6 months.
3.        ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: if Criterion 1B is met but Criterion 1A is not met for 6 mos.

American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text
Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
"Children have never
been very good at
listening to their
elders, but they have
never failed to imitate
James Baldwin
Pills Don't Teach Skills:
A Personal Story of Overcoming ADD
by Jeff Hamilton
The Ritalin Trap
by Paola Breda for The Toronto Star
Gap Academy does not endorse nor encourage the use of
psychotropic medications to treat kids with learning
disabilities, behavioural, attentional or emotional
Instead, we believe in the systematic resolution of the
obstacles blocking a child's learning.
A Parent's Story:  
If at first you don't believe...
At first, I couldn't believe that this teacher was telling me
she didn't really want my 'bouncing off the walls' son to be
on any medication!   At the time, he had been on a cocktail
of several medications for several years, and it seemed to
be helping.  
But, Gap did not want him on medication!  I was hesitant,
but felt coerced into agreeing because my son had been
thrown out of yet another school, and we were running
short of choices.  I reverse coerced the principal to sign a
letter saying she wouldn't throw my son out of Gap if he
behaved badly due to lack of medication!  
When I asked her how she had no trouble signing the
letter, she laughed and said "Well, he's on the drugs now,
and he
still got thrown out of school, and we're taking him,
aren't we?   What's the difference?   I already  know he has
severe behavioural problems."    I couldn't believe my ears!
Still, I knew what was up ahead:  the tantrums, crazy
behaviours, aggression, hyperactivity, etc.   But, I had to
admit they had a point:   even on the medications that we
thought were helping, he had been expelled!
I shouldn't have worried.   That was five years ago, and my
son is now doing well in college without meds!
Rabbinical saying:
"Don't limit a child to your own
learning, for he was born in
another time."
"Too often we give our
children answers to
remember rather than
problems to solve."
Roger Lewin