ADD Summary Sheet

ADD Summary Sheet

(This information is summarized from the well-known book, “Driven to Distraction”.)

Origin of ADD

  • May be related to family dysfunction, dietary causes (esp. for hyperactivity), or genetic make-up.
  • May not be a “disorder” at all, but rather a personality type.

Characteristics of Individuals With ADD


  • Short attention span (but can focus intensely on some things)


  • Poor planner (disorganized, impulsive)

Difficulty following directions

  • Has distorted sense of time (knowing how long a task will take)


  • (bored by routine tasks) Acts without considering consequences

Lacking in social graces

  • Does not easily convert words to concepts or concepts to words

To Be a More Successful Student:

Break Tasks Into Small Bites

  • Break jobs into small tasks or short-term goals (organize your time around these tasks)
  • Prepare “to-do” lists, and cross off items as they are completed

Increase Your Attention Span

  • Train yourself to attend for longer periods of time  (spider technique)
  • Learn to convert auditory input into visual pictures (during lectures, conversations)
  • Practice paying attention when people talk to you

Create study/work “zones” Which are Free From Distraction

  • Close the door, turn off the radio, tell people not to disturb you, and do one thing at a time  (this may entail getting away from your room or office to a “secret” location)
  • Clean your desk at the end of each day;  keep your college room clean and organized (this will greatly minimize distractions)

Exercise Every Day

  • 30 to 60 minutes of daily aerobic activity seems to help some people as much as Ritalin

Stick With Tasks In Which You Excel, Where Possible

  • When you get a job or start your own business, learn to stick to the things you are best at; pair yourself up with someone who is highly organized and likes to manage details

Harness your Strengths

  • Compensate for your short attention span (creativity, interest, environmental monitoring)

To Control Your Impulses

  • Postpone implementing snap decisions by one day - write them down and evaluate them later
  • If you feel very (self) driven to a snap decision, try concentrating on another goal for awhile
  • Consider Ritalin-type medication.

Some Jobs in Which You Might Excel:

  • Police Officer
  • Private Detective
  • Freelance Writer
  • Reporter
  • Airplane Pilot
  • “Spy”
  • Military Combat Personnel
  • Safari/Expedition Leader
  • Explorer
  • Disc Jockey
  • Salesperson
  • Consultant
  • Entrepreneur
  • Trial Lawyer
  • Politician
  • Surgeon
  • Trauma Care Specialist
  • Senior Executive (if position requires more creativity & risk taking and less management).

When Working With a Person With ADD:

  • Make specific, definable measurable daily goals.  Give one priority at a time
  • Have the individual fill in a daily report
  • Set up a short-term reward system (while not ignoring long-term rewards)
  • Help create a “system driven” work environment (i.e. structuring their work completion).
  • Systems should include daily definition of job, performance, goals, and self-measurements.