Getting to Know the ADD Types – Type 2: Inattentive ADD

spinner type 2 inattentive add

Do you have ADD or ADHD? If so, do you know which of the 7 types of ADD you have? There is a way to know for sure.

Here are the signs and symptoms of Type 2 ADD (also known as Inattentive ADD):

Type 2 ADD Core Symptoms

Though each of the ADD subtypes has its own set of symptoms, they all share the same core symptoms.

  • A short attention span for regular, routine, everyday tasks (homework, chores, etc.)
  • Distractibility
  • Organization problems (like having a messy room, always running late, etc.)
  • Procrastination
  • Forgetfulness
  • Problems with follow-through
  • Poor impulse control (saying or doing something before thinking it through)

Type 2 ADD Symptoms

In addition to the core symptoms, the unique characteristics of Type 2/Inattentive ADD include:

  • Difficulty maintaining focus
  • Tendency to lose things
  • Making careless mistakes; poor attention to detail
  • Complaints of being bored
  • Appearing unmotivated or apathetic
  • Being tired, sluggish or slow moving
  • Appearing “spacey” or preoccupied

Type 2 ADD Quick Facts

  • Inattentive ADD is the second most common type of ADD.
  • Those with Inattentive ADD tend to be introverted and may have trouble finding motivation in life.
  • People with Type 2 ADD are frequently found daydreaming or looking out the window.
  • Along with struggling to complete academic tasks, children with Inattentive ADD may have difficulty listening, processing verbal instructions, and following directions.
  • Children with Inattentive ADD are often ignored because they are less likely to cause a disruption in class.
  • Many children with Inattentive ADD are extremely intelligent.
  • While the academic performance of Type 2 students may be satisfactory in elementary and middle school, their tendency to internalize their ADD symptoms and not seek treatment may cause them to hit a wall in high school.
  • Adolescents with Inattentive ADD may struggle with stress, time management, and chronic anxiety.
  • Girls tend to have Type 2 ADD as much if not more than boys.
  • Inattentive ADD is commonly misdiagnosed as a learning disability.
  • People with Type 2 don’t show the impulsive and hyperactive traits that are typically associated with ADD, so, unfortunately, many of them are never diagnosed.

Implementing these six tips will help you manage the symptoms of Type 2 ADD:


Behavior Therapy:

Behavior therapy can equip parents with the tools necessary to help their Type 2 child thrive in school and life. One effective behavioral technique for Type 2 kids is to set up a reward system: reward good behavior and withhold privileges when negative behaviors occur.

Clear Instructions:

Since children with Type 2 ADD often become frustrated when they are unable to attain their goals, giving clear and simple instructions is essential to set them up for success. Children with Inattentive ADD respond better to straightforward directions that establish fair and realistic expectations.

Break It Down:

Children with Inattentive ADD will find smaller tasks (or larger tasks broken down into smaller goals) easier to accomplish. Simply telling your child to clean up their room will not suffice. A child with Inattentive ADD will understand their task better if you say: “Put away the clothes on your bed. Then pick up the toys on the floor and put them in your toy box.”

Write It Down:

Writing down tasks and creating a checklist for your child is even better than breaking down tasks verbally. Your child will feel a sense of accomplishment when they visually see their goals being achieved.

Educate Your Child:

It’s important to educate your child about Type 2 ADD. Parents should inform their child of the positive traits associated with Inattentive ADD and help them learn coping mechanisms and strategies for critical thinking.

Get a Customized Solution:

Like many other mental health conditions, ADD is not just a single and simple disorder; therefore, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each of the seven types of ADD requires a different treatment plan, including dietary and cultural influences on ADD. What works for one person with ADD may not work for another—or could even make the symptoms worse!

ADD is a neurobiological disorder with serious psychological and social consequences. Amen Clinics is here to help you understand your brain and provide treatment options that address more than just symptoms.

Want more information? Download Amen Clinics’ free Getting to Know the 7 ADD Types eBook.

Healing Type 2 ADD starts with knowing if you have it and then finding out which type you have. We’ve helped tens of thousands of people with ADD from all over the world. If you suspect that you or a loved one might have ADD, don’t wait to get help. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule a visit.


  1. Thanks for this blog. I’ve just had the first of two consultations with a psychiatrist. I’m 27 and have struggled for as long as I can remember with focus. I did well up until about 16 in education as I found it easy and after that point more independent study was required and I hit the wall. Similar to your example above.

    It’s reassuring to see things like this I can relate to. Without the internet, I think I may have just struggled on forever.

    Comment by Pete — February 24, 2016 @ 12:53 AM

  2. Glad you found the blog helpful – and yes, you are definitely not alone in your struggle with focus.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 24, 2016 @ 8:28 AM

  3. Quite ironic that the free videos are so freakishly long and not concise what so ever! I couldn’t make it through the first one even, especially, because there is no option to pause and take a break or whatever. Maybe room for improvement?

    Comment by Christine Klnrt — June 28, 2016 @ 9:03 AM

  4. Same here Pete, everything was easy as long as I could memorize everything, I even had parts of the CAT test that we did yearly memorized. Then in HS it was harder to memorize things and there were more stress factors from peers. Everything in this article is me. I set 3 different alarms every morning spaced 30 min apart and hit snooze every 10 minutes so I don’t get lost in space. The alarms keep me moving through my morning routing.

    Comment by Dawn Parker — November 1, 2017 @ 5:14 AM

  5. Is there a support group for wives of adults with ADD in the Cleveland area?

    Comment by Joan — January 20, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

  6. I have all the symptoms of inattentive ADD. I have really struggled in my life due to such symptoms. I am never officially diagnosed but hope to find help some day. I am male, 31 from Kenya.

    Comment by otieno Dan — March 23, 2018 @ 8:06 AM

  7. I live in the Dallas, TX area, and so wish there was one of your centers here! Any chance of one coming? Or are there any recommended therapists who practice Dr. Amens methods here? Thanks!

    Comment by Lisa Smith — March 6, 2019 @ 3:27 PM

  8. What are the symptoms of the types of ADD other than Type 2 AD

    Betty L. Age 78 years

    Comment by Betty Latham — March 20, 2019 @ 2:31 PM

  9. Hello Betty, thank you for reaching out. You can see symptoms and information for all 7 Types of ADD/ADHD on this page:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 21, 2019 @ 7:09 AM

  10. My 12yr old daughter has recently been diagnosed with Inattentive ADD after another rough academic school year. Which of the BrainMD supplements would you recommend for this type?

    Comment by Sandie — April 8, 2019 @ 10:52 AM

  11. Hello Sandie, thank you for reaching out. We will connect with you via email about possible next steps for ADD for your daughter.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — April 9, 2019 @ 7:13 AM

  12. Also interested in your answer to the above question for daughter who is 12 with ADD Type 2

    Comment by Kristen — April 9, 2019 @ 8:22 AM

  13. Hello,

    I know the health system very different in USA than Scotland and ADHD much more recognised over there.

    However I an convinced my 16 yr old son is attentive ADD he ticks every box. I got him assessed at CAMS. They use Connors. It came back that he wasn’t.

    I felt the questionaires is much more geared to the hyperactive type which he clearly isn’t. I wonder how accurate a tool is is for inattentive type?

    Don’t know how else to help him and he’s struggling. Also think I’m undiagnosed as I see lots of me here as well. I manage but what can u suggest as our health system doesn’t recognise his problems?

    Any other way to help?
    Thanks Heather Reilly

    Comment by Heather reilly — April 11, 2019 @ 3:54 AM

  14. My 9 year old son is having another rough school year. He fits the category for Inattentive ADD but has never been diagnosed. Are there natural ways to help him through this or do you suggest medication? I am at a loss and hate seeing him struggle. He makes good grades but constantly has to set out at recess to complete assignments.

    Comment by Becky — April 18, 2019 @ 6:38 AM

  15. My mum thinks i have ADD. I always procrastinate, i have a messy room and I have very low grades in my subjects. Also I always end up drawing all over my school work.
    What actually proves you have ADD?

    Comment by Ameliah — April 2, 2020 @ 1:56 PM

  16. My son has Inattentive ADD – My advice – Have an educational assessment done – it's going to help you and your school formulate an Individual Education Plan which will provide better supports for your child at school eg. one-on-one assistance, computer programs, verbal tests /presentations , time assistance , quiet room etc… also there will be better communication between parents and teacher/ school if your using a log that goes back and forth to school – to note things that will help everyone to have a better picture of everything – a bad sleep day , assignment information , a good productive day etc.. If as a parent you are emotional and don't feel heard by the school – get a family advocate to facilitate communication (they will be individuals whom have experience with IEP's) – this was one of the best decisions I ever made.
    Always remember that you know you child best – trust your instinct – push for everyone to continue to think outside of the box of their own experiences – because your child is an individual and will respond only the way they can – not the way someone wants them to.
    My son's first Principle couldn't step back and look at the whole picture, gather facts and opinions and then act -which perpetuated a negative school experience. ( and YES I made the mistake of following their lead and not defining my expectations and displeasure early on – at times I should have demanded an apology or at least a witnessed acknowledgment of their mistakes )
    He had a second Principle who was in the habit of ridged expectations – and intent on remorse for behavior my son couldn't self manage – he wanted debriefs with my son later – wanted him to reflect on his behavior – my son couldn't do this. (Yes sometimes authoritative personalities can be good – expectations are good – but everyone needs to be able to pivot – and be able to take another path sometimes – This Principle had many great qualities – especially the time he would make to visit classrooms.
    Solutions can become problems:
    My son started to assume he was in trouble – whenever the teacher went to use the intercom – it became a problem – because they would use the intercom to call the office as part of their de escalation plan for him – and he was aware of the pattern of it's use – so he would think they were calling about him when they were not – and he would become upset .
    If Homework is a real issue :
    Don't do it at home – get a tutor – my son would do all his weeks work there ( you have to find a right fit of course) He asked me to go for two hours instead of one – on Saturdays. or you could have them try staying and doing it after school with the teacher if willing or a tutor – or just try helping them do homework somewhere else – when I went back to school I did mine at a coffee shop or A&W – just do it away from the pull of any distractions – assign it a time and a place where they can feel more focused.
    In High School – gr 9 went well for my son at the beginning – because it was so different
    But he did not want to "go" to his tutor anymore – so for gr 10 I found tutors to go to the school ( he never ate lunch – so one would go to the school at lunch for math and one would go at the end of the day for his english)
    Realize that as a parent:
    You will always be starting at zero again at a new school /with a new class. – Always talk to the teachers – no matter what – your child does not need to know about this initial meeting – be honest with them – then let them know that if your child is having any issues , falling behind, or lacking interest – they should let you know – so that you can help refocus or provide a little guidance or check in . ( my son would only hear parts of a conversation if he was hearing – if anything critical was being said to him – and he would not speak up for himself – allowing his needs and his desires go uncommunicated- as a parent I know this – as a teacher they would not – unless communicated to them – so do this yourself – so you know that they know – don't leave it up to anyone else- because the message may not have been clear enough)
    Big Tip:
    In High School – make sure that your child has a class he wants to be there for – my son did a special technical course that made up his first two periods – it is why he went to bed (always his biggest difficulty) and also what made him want to get up ( his second most difficulty) and go to school (never the issue).
    This might be an all around early strategic move at any age.
    If you have ADD
    What time of day is most difficult ? What is something that you would look forward to do? – and Would allow you to either – energize your day ,reenergize your day , or just allow you to focus better all day and be more relaxed because you know it finishes your day? What could you have as part of your morning that would allow you to relax and be able to have a great sleep at night so you feel good for tomorrow?
    If you could have anything to help you finish your task at work what would it be? do you need tools to break some barrier impeding your progress? do you need an extra pair of hands? do you need a time management app so that time doesn't just keep slipping away from you? are you distracted by the tools you use? eg computer or phone alerts / messages?

    Comment by deanna — June 11, 2023 @ 5:25 PM

  17. I came to your California facility with my son years ago and both of us were scanned. My son got little out of the experience but I am very much a believer. I wanted to base line my brain so I knew when to retire. I have always worked my entire life and now at nearly 76 maybe I should be scanned again. I will make that decision likely next year.
    Right now, I am interested in Healing ADD at Home in 30 days course for a grandchild who is 19. What is cost and what does it all entail. If I know a little more I will determine if she would be interested in the coarse.

    Comment by F Douglas Reardon — October 27, 2023 @ 3:35 PM

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