A Look at Attention Deficit Disorder and The Benefits of Improving Working Memory

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual lists three subtypes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. DSM-IV-TR 314.01 is considered the combined type, which means that six or more symptoms of both hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention have persisted for at least six months.

1. DSM-IV-TR 314.01 is also considered the Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive type. This is used when a client has six or more symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity, but fewer than six symptoms of inattention.

2. DSM-IV-TR 314.00 is considered the Predominantly Inattentive Type. This is used when there are six or more of the inattention symptoms present, but fewer than six hyperactive/impulsive symptoms

Symptoms of Inattention and Impulsivity/Hyperactivity

 A Few Common Symptoms of Inattention

  1. Often does not give close attention to details, makes careless mistakes in schoolwork and other activities
  2. Often does not follow instructions or fails to finish schoolwork or other duties in the workplace
  3. Has trouble organizing activities
  4. Often loses things needed for tasks

A Few Common Symptoms of Impulsivity

  1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  2. Often has trouble taking one’s turn
  3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others

A Few Common Symptoms of Hyperactivity

  1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  2. Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly
  3. Talks excessively
  4. Is often “on the go” acts as if driven by a “motor”

Working Memory

Working memory is the system of the brain that actively holds information in the mind that is necessary to do verbal and nonverbal tasks.

 Working memory is crucial for the following things and more:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Mental arithmetic
  3. Interacting and responding appropriately in peer activity
  4. Planning daily activities and adhering to them
  5. Doing homework/business independently and completing tasks on time
  6. Organizing materials and activities

Benefits/Research of Improving Working Memory in Those with ADHD

Studies show that most people with attention deficits, including those with ADHD have a working memory deficit.  Dr. Torkel Klingberg’s 2005 study on children with ADHD showed working memory training to be effective in placebo-controlled multi-center trial research. The results showed substantial and long-lasting reduction of attention problems following training induced working memory improvements.

This training was done through an evidence-based program called Cogmed. Please see our website for more information about this program.



[1] Klingberg, T, Fernell, E, Olsen P, Johnson M, Gustafsson, P et al. Computerized Training of Working Memory in Children with ADHD-A Randomized, Controlled Trial.  Journal of The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Volume 44, Issue 2 , Pages 177-186, February 2005

Do you have attention problems? Call Behavioral Sciences of Alabama at 256.883.3231 and we’ll help you overcome them. For your convenience, you can also fill out our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation with us.


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