We all have students in class who look as if their brains may have been hijacked. These are the students who have a faraway look in their eyes and struggle to stay present during the school day. They fail to make efficient transitions between activities and classes. They often arrive late and can't get oriented to classroom tasks. For years, I have referred to these students as "daydreamers." But after learning more about what is behind their struggle to stay present in class, I've come to realize there is a serious problem with doing so.
The problem starts with the word. Daydreaming implies pleasure and escape. It suggests choice. However, it is much more likely that our students with their heads in the clouds are simply students who have not been identified as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. For them, ADHD may be manifesting as inattentiveness rather than the easier-to-see hyperactivity or impulsivity that most people associate with the disorder.