Have Difficulty with Instructions
The child with ADHD can’t act on a laundry list of instructions –– especially if the instructions are complex. These children are frequently visual thinkers, needing time to develop a mental image related to the instruction; it is hard for them to follow a long list of things to be done.
Let's consider an instruction like this: “Becky, please take your plate to the sink and rinse it. When you’ve done that, make sure all of your books and homework are in your backpack, then brush your teeth, get your jacket, hat and mittens and meet me in the front room." As Becky hears this, her attention wanders after her mother says, “and rinse it." While the plate gets (somewhat) rinsed, her mother is thinking, “OK, she’ll meet me in the front room in a few minutes, ready to go to school." Meantime, Becky has skipped to her room and is now engrossed with her favorite toy and several minutes pass.
Mother comes to Becky’s room, exasperated because they are late to leave for school and work. She gets even more upset when she sees her daughter playing rather than getting ready.