According to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV Criteria for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, the diagnosis of ADHD must involve symptoms that persist for at least six months, begin before the age of 7, impair the child's activity in key domains (e.g., academic, social, and domestic), and appear pervasively (Hinshaw, 1994, p. 12). Features associated with this disorder are aggression and antisocial behavior, academic underachievement, peer rejection, and family dysfunction.
In terms of inattention, children with ADHD have their greatest difficulty with tasks that require sustained attention or watchfulness. This characteristic is manifest even when the child is at play, but is particularly evident when the child must perform uninteresting, repetitive tasks such as working independently at school or at home, homework, or household chores (Barkley, 1990, p. 40). Although research indicates that ADHD children are no more susceptible to distractibility than normal children, some studies find that ADHD children are more vulnerable to irrelevant stimulation (Barkley, 1990, p. 41). For instance, for a child with ADHD, the ticking of a clock might drown out a teacher's voice.
Another characteristic of children with ADHD is impulsivity. These children often blurt out answers in class or act before thinking. Interrupting the conversations or activities of others is another characteristic. Antisocial behavior such as grabbing, shoving