Medical science began to recognize hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness in children in the early 1900s. In 1902, British pediatrician George Frederic Still described 20 children in his practice who resisted discipline, were excessively emotional, and had poor impulse control. He felt that the disorder was probably hereditary. In the 1920s and 1930s, researchers considered the possibility that behavior problems were caused by birth trauma or post-birth head injuries. The 1930s saw the first use of drugs to control hyperactivity. The publication of Psychopathology and Education of the Brain Injured Child brought the label "minimal brain damage (MBD)" into use in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, Canadian researcher Virginia Douglas argued that deficits in attention caused the behavioral problems in children, rather than hyperactivity. "Attention Deficit Disorder" was listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III) in 1980. Since 1902, then, "Roberts" have had many names for their disorder: "brain damage," "hyperkinetic impulsive disorder," and "attention deficit disorder (ADD)."
Since 1994, this condition has been called "ADHD" (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). It is usually characterized by poor attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. ADHD is a disorder linked to the nervous system that affects 3% to 8% of children of school age. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), the diagnostic manual for the American Psychiatric Association, divides ADHD into types by major symptoms and groups them into three categories. The first is called the "Predominantly Inattentive type," which describes serious inattention, with little impulsivity/hyperactivity. Next is the "Combined type," which combines serious inattention with serious impulsivity/hyperactivity. Last is the "Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive type": serious impulsivity, but little inattention. The DSM-IV lists nine symptoms of inattention, including failure to give close attention to details, not listening when spoken to, difficulty in sustaining attention, not following through on assignments,