ADD (Attention deficit disorder) is a complex condition. It can present in one of two ways. When a child finds it difficult to concentrate, is easily distracted or has problems remembering they are usually diagnosed with ADD.  But if they are also hyperactive and impulsive they are diagnosed with ADHD.

It can all be rather confusing.  You see, technically speaking – ADD is no longer a medical diagnosis. In 1994, doctors decided to only use the term ADHD. So now, children are diagnosed with ADHD even if they are not hyperactive.  So a child with ADD symptoms will likely get a diagnosis of “ADHD Inattentive Type”. Still, many parents, teachers, and adults – and sometimes even us professionals –  will use the term ADD when referring to inattentive symptoms and presentations of the condition.

We don’t really know what causes ADHD, but researchers continue to study the brain for clues. There are also no laboratory tests to date for ADHD.

Treatment for ADHD looks at two things.  Medication and behavioural modification therapy. Studies suggest that when used together, these treatments deliver the best results.  

What’s the Difference Between ADD and ADHD

As I explained above, we used to distinguish between ADD and ADHD.  But now, both conditions are simply called ADD.  I know it’s confusing.  Trust me, sometimes even us professionals get it wrong.

Instead of focusing so much on the label, let’s rather just chat about what each condition looks like.

 Children with “ADD” usually:

  • have poor working memory
  • find it difficult to concentrate
  • are easily distracted – often by their own thoughts
  • can be disorganised


 While children with ADHD:

  • are squirmy or fidgety
  • can be impulsive
  • have lots of energy
  • struggle to wait his or her turn
  • can be very talkative

The earlier a child is diagnosed and treatment is started, the better the chances of long-term success for children with ADD. It can be difficult to diagnose ADHD because many of the symptoms are considered “normal” in all young children. But most children outgrow these symptoms.  While those with ADHD do not. 

A thorough evaluation by a skilled health care professional is necessary to diagnose ADHD. If you suspect your child has ADHD have then assessed right away.

For more information about helping your child with ADD, contact Anel Annandale at 083 711 5267 or via email at