The Other Kind of ADHD

 When we think of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), we usually imagine children who have little to no impulse control, can’t sit still, and are vibrating with energy that is hard to contain. However, this is not always the case.

 In fact, there are three different types of ADHD:

  1. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type (the most commonly known)

  2. Inattentive Type

  3. Combination Type

The children with the Inattentive type tend to go less noticed by others. These children are not hyperactive or impulsive; they simply have difficulties focusing, sustaining attention, and processing large amounts of information. It’s not that they’re not listening or paying attention, it’s often that they have a hard time distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information or stimuli. 

For these children, some of their Inattentive behaviors may be misinterpreted as a lack of caring or laziness. If you know a child who is having issues with learning, it might be helpful to keep an eye out for some of these inattentive behaviors. Getting curious about the behavior itself is important, and helps to stop us from thinking of the behaviors as negative traits. 

Some tips to help with this are:

-Instead of forgetfulness/carelessness, consider that they do care but have a hard time holding different instructions in their mind at one time. Helping them to make a list can help with this. For children who are not proficient readers yet, visual lists and schedules work well.

-Do check-ins when speaking to them, saying, “Does that make sense?” or “Do you need me to repeat that?” It can be hard for these children to focus, even when being spoken to directly!

-Working on long and tedious tasks will be more challenging. Help them break the tasks into smaller pieces and work in “brain breaks”. 

*NOTE: Although we are mental health professionals, we do not diagnose any of our students. If you believe that your child may have a form of ADHD, we recommend having them evaluated by school or child psychologists. If you have any further questions about ADHD or would like a referral to a provider, email us at