ADS – The Attention Deficit Disorder – Syndrome

Synonyms in a broader sense

  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Syndrome
  • Psychoorganic Syndrome (POS)
  • Hans-guy-in-the-air
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Minimal brain syndrome


An attention deficit syndrome is a distinct inattentive, sometimes even impulsive behaviour, which becomes conspicuous over a longer period of time (about six months) in several areas of life (kindergarten/school, at home, leisure time). ADS need not necessarily be associated with hyperactivity. On the contrary, children who appear through dreams or the like also suffer from ADHD.

The behaviours shown usually do not correspond to the child’s stage of development, but manifest themselves, which means that the corresponding behaviours do not occur in phases, but last. This has the consequence that the problem cannot be overcome without appropriate help. There are two forms of attention deficit syndrome: besides the attention deficit syndrome without hyperactivity (ADHD), there is also the hyperactive variant of it, ADHD (attention deficit syndrome with hyperactivity), and the mixed type of both variants.

Common to both terms is the fact that they are clearly defined clinical pictures characterized by different symptoms of ADHD. Children with ADHD or ADHD cannot focus their attention in a targeted manner, so that their ability to concentrate is deficient. These deficiencies usually permeate all areas of the child’s life, i.e. kindergarten or school as well as the family and leisure time areas.

The lack of concentration becomes particularly apparent in phases in which children can direct their attention to a certain area over a longer period of time. While the ADHD child then begins to dream and otherwise does not necessarily attract negative attention, the hyperactive (ADHD) child may experience negative accompanying symptoms (fidgeting up to refusal to work). Due to the different external manifestations of ADHD, it is usually diagnosed more frequently, but above all more quickly.

In the meantime, various series of studies have confirmed that in the presence of AD(H)S, the transmission and processing of information between different parts of the brain functions incorrectly. In both cases, the ability to concentrate is sometimes considerably impaired. This does not mean, however, that in children with ADD or ADHD, giftedness can be ruled out from the outset.

However, it is noticeable that the symptoms can also have consequences in other areas of schooling. It is not uncommon for children with reading and spelling difficulties and/or dyscalculia. Due to the fact that twin studies on identical twins have shown that – if ADHD /ADHS is present – both children are usually affected, it is assumed that the symptom – from which adults can also suffer – can be inherited.


In general, the attention deficit without hyperactivity receives significantly less attention, which could be related, among other things, to the fact that quiet attention-deficicient children are generally less conspicuous. A diagnosis to this effect, including the previously noted attention deficits, is much more difficult. With regard to the research into the causes of ADHD, it should be noted that as early as 1870, the first statements were made that did not rule out heredity and also pointed out that the social pressure exerted on children was becoming ever greater.

The increasingly important virtues like punctuality, order, obedience, … cannot be fulfilled by all children in the same way. This statement should make us sit up and take notice… In the further course of research, for example in the early 20th century, there was a tendency to grant a great deal of responsibility above education.

Groups arose which classified children with attention deficits as difficult to educate. However, it is once again clear that these children are more likely to have the hyperactive variant of ADHD and that even then it was probably much more difficult to diagnose ADHD without hyperactivity. Historically, parallels can therefore be found not only with regard to the difficulties of diagnosing ADHD, but also with the history of dyslexia.

Since as there, possible causes were and are assumed, formulated, later revoked and then postulated again. In the thirties, it was discovered rather by chance that special drugs sedate hyperactive children. Since this worked, it was assumed in the 60’s and research results also pointed to it, it was then also assumed that a brain disorder was the cause of the development of ADHD and treated accordingly.

In the further course of research it was believed that there could not be THE ONE cause for the development of ADHD and so the multi-causal approach (= caused by many factors) prevailed: As causes of ADHD, various factors came into consideration: minimal cerebral dysfunction (MCD, a form of brain damage), heredity (genetic transmission), consequences resulting from the changed society, etc. Two opposing and extreme positions have been maintained. These are on the one hand those who believe that ADHD should in principle be treated with medication and on the other hand those who believe that only through therapy and modified educational measures can a goal be achieved and that medication should be avoided.

Between these two “extreme” views, most forms of therapy can be found today. All (scientific) attempts at explanation have been made in the fields of medicine, psychology, but also pedagogy. However, perhaps it should be considered that the classical ideal way, which is valid for everyone, cannot exist, especially in the area of learning problems.

The problems are always of an individual nature and therefore require an individual therapy of ADHD. You will find further information on these sub-themes: Even if many factors are still assumed to be the cause of ADHD today, the neurobiological explanation approach has been scientifically accepted since the 90s as the explanation for the development of ADHD. Possible causes that try to explain the neurobiological explanation approach can be found under causes of ADHD.