The Multiple Types of ADHD

By Shawn Smith M.Ed., CCC



Did you know there is more than 1 type of ADHD?

  1. Inattentive Type (inward)
  1. Hyperactivity-Impulsive Type (outward)
  1. Combination Type (combined)

When most people think of ADHD, our minds automatically gravitate to that one kid in class who just couldn’t seem to sit still. In my opinion, this is likely due to the Hyperactive – Impulsive and Combination Types of ADHD being portrayed more so in the media than the other types.

The first, and least discussed type of ADHD is the Inattentive Type. And, there are a couple of reasons why you’ve likely not heard of this type of ADHD before. One reason is that ADHD Inattentive Type was previously referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD.


Why the change from ADD to ADHD?

My understanding of the change is the differentiation in language. ADD implies an inability to pay attention or to focus. Whereas, ADHD Inattentive Type in my opinion implies that we are able to focus however the challenge is choosing what to focus on.

Another reason why you’ve likely not heard of ADHD Inattentive Type is because the squeaky wheel gets the grease. People with Hyperactive-Impulsive Type demand attention through their actions, and for every action there is a reaction.

People with ADHD Inattentive Type were pegged as the daydreamers. Because we don’t typically have behavioural issues in school we are able to fly under the radar, for better or for worse.

Why is it so hard for people to accept ADHD Inattentive Type?

In today’s society when someone says that they have something our go to response is “show me”, and how do you show someone something that is invisible?

Welcome to my world, the world of the uniquely gifted.

Please visit www.ddmacs.ca!

Author Image

Shawn Smith M.Ed., CCC is the proud founder and CEO of Don’t dis-my-ability consultation services Inc., an innovative, multifaceted company specializing in the emerging field of Neurodiversity located in Fredericton New Brunswick, Canada.

Shawn’s story is unique in that he was diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive Type at age 30. Prior to his diagnosis, Shawn struggled at every level of the public education system. It took Shawn 4 years to complete 3 years of high school, 32 attempts to earn the 18 credits required to graduate including failing grade 10 math 4 times.

Since being diagnosed and taking prescribed medication at age 30, Shawn has experienced a tremendous amount of self-growth in a relatively short period of time and has a unique understanding of his thought process. In 2010 Shawn was accepted to the Master of Education in Counselling Psychology program at the University of New Brunswick on Academic Probation and graduated in 2011 at the top of his class.

Shawn is a self-advocate, entrepreneur, innovator, counsellor and psychotherapist specializing in the emerging field of Neurodiversity. Shawn is a director at large for the Technology in Counselling Chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and a board member of the New Brunswick Career Development Action Group (NBCDAG).

For inquiries regarding keynote and other speaking engagements please contact Shawn directly at shawn@ddmacs.ca.

“Don’t dis-my-ability; I may not learn in a conventional manner but this does not mean I cannot learn, only that you have not been able to reach me”. © For more information, visit Shawn’s site: www.ddmacs.ca