When you observe the world and realize that most of it moves too slowly, that you spend most of your time waiting for people to catch up, catch on, or simply catch the ball, you may have a predisposition to hyperactivity.
Parents often hand down personality traits to children, so I think examining mom and dad will help nearly anyone understand why a child behaves as he does.
Attention deficits (ADs) don't seem to have a sense for spending time. It's a trait that starts in childhood. He or she may know the time every moment, but spending a block of time has no parameters; it's a free for all. An hour, five hours, five minutes is inconsequential. Suggest that one should spend only so much time on something or it becomes wasted time, and you're presenting quantum mechanics.
One of the parameters of work is time. Another is the ability to work linearly – starting, doing and finishing in that order. Attention deficit children don't seem to have a big picture of what's going on, so they can't work from beginning to end. They start, oh, someplace, mmmm, I dunno, and end, well someplace else.
Here's an example:
While the AD child prepares to do a puzzle, he will wash the table, push in the chair, find another puzzle to do after he's done the one in front of him. He will ask forty questions about the puzzle and then he will have to go to the bathroom check out what every other child is doing, get a drink, ask about when recess is until, in fact, it is recess – oops, no puzzle. If the puzzle gets started, generally speaking it will take four years, the pieces will most likely be lost, and it will stay on the table forever. The puzzle should never die.
The hyperactive on the other hand will look at the puzzle and say, "I could do that, so what's the point?" If they actually like the puzzle, they will figure how to do it as quickly as possible – four corners first, four sides, and then by shape not color, they will do quadrants until it's done. It's a job not a recreation, so get it done and move to the next thing. Recreation? What's recreation? Life is work.
Pair a hyperactive child with an AD child and you have the proverbial nightmare project.
So what's the prognosis for the two?
The AD child becomes the guy who spends the evening changing TV channels. Most people would say he just can't pay attention, but it's just another example of wasting everyone's time.