7 Signs of ADHD
Let's face it; kids will be kids. That makes diagnosing this complex disorder a challenging task. Learn how to recognize potential ADHD behaviors and know when to get help.
Does my child have ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex mental health disorder that can affect a child's success in school and with interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, the symptoms of ADHD do vary and are sometimes difficult to recognize. Here are seven common signs that may indicate ADHD.
Please note: many of the symptoms are within the normal range for children to experience. A diagnosis of ADHD is made by evaluating the child under several criteria. ADHD is generally diagnosed by age 7. Older children exhibiting these symptoms may have ADHD, but often have exhibited rather florid symptoms early in life.
Me, Me, Me
A common sign of ADHD is an inability to recognize other people's needs and desires. A child with ADHD may interrupt other people when they are talking and may have trouble waiting their turn for things like classroom activities and when playing games with other children.
A child with ADHD may have difficulty keeping emotions – both good and bad – in check. They may have outbursts of anger at inappropriate times or temper tantrums (in younger children).
Fidget and Squirm
You may often find yourself muttering, "It's like the kid's got a motor that's always running." Children with ADHD often can't sit still. They may try to get up and run around or, when forced to sit, constantly fidget or squirm in their chair.
A child with ADHD may show interest in lots of different thing but may have problems seeing them through to the end. Often, a child with ADHD will start a project, chore, or homework but leave it unfinished as they simply move on to the next thing that catches their interest.
Lack of Focus
Frustratingly, a child with ADHD may have trouble paying attention even when being spoken to directly. They'll say they heard you, but when asked to repeat back what you just said, they will have no idea what it was.
It's important to remember that children with ADHD aren't any less intelligent than other children. The problem is that they often have trouble following instructions that require planning and executing a plan, which leads to careless mistakes.
Children with ADHD are typically portrayed as rambunctious and loud, but that's not always the case. Another possible sign of ADHD is being quieter and less involved than the other kids. A child with ADHD may stare into space, as if dreaming, and ignore what's going on around him or her.
It's important to remember that all children are going to exhibit some of these behaviors some of the time. Kids will be kids, after all. But if your child regularly displays signs of ADHD – especially if the behavior is affecting his or her success in school and leading to negative interaction with peers – you should start thinking about the next step. The good news is that ADHD is a very treatable condition.
Spend some time reviewing all of the treatment options and then set up an appointment with a medical professional to determine the best course of action.