ADHD Signs and Symptoms
Children with ADHD are a heterogeneous group, manifesting symptoms in varying combinations and degrees. ADHD signs and symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, a lack of focus, poor time management, weak impulse control, exaggerated emotions, hyperfocus, and executive dysfunction. To qualify for a diagnosis, the child must exhibit one or more of these ADHD signs and symptoms before age 12. You will observe that the ADHD signs and symptoms are present in more than one setting, like at school or home or in the company of friends. Moreover, the intensity and frequency of ADHD signs and symptoms must interfere with the child’s functioning in school, work, or other social situations for them to be considered for evaluation. For a diagnosis of ADHD, these symptoms should not occur due to mood or anxiety disorders and must be noticeable for at least six months consistently.
It can be hard to know if what you are seeing are ADHD signs and symptoms or not. Explore this list of common ADHD signs and symptoms to get an idea.
Adi, a nine-year-old child, has an excellent memory for things that interest him, like names of all the dinosaurs that ever existed or types and functions of machines used in construction. Still, he is unable to memorise his multiplication tables. In the classroom, Adi seems to hear the teacher’s first instruction, and by the time he was able to bring his textbook to the instructed page, he would miss the following two instructions. He has trouble getting started on his homework at home and will often abandon it long before completing the homework to sharpen a pencil or start something else. Adi’s parents could not understand his inability to attend to an assigned task for any reasonable
ADHD signs and symptoms – Children with ADHD will exhibit a “persistent” pattern of
A diagnosis is generally made after the child turns seven when a persistent pattern of the symptoms is noticed. However, children may start exhibiting signs early on too. In addition, these signs may occur in more than one setting, such as at home and school.
ADHD signs and symptoms – Inattention
While showing signs of inattention, the child
- Gives less attention to detail and makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or with other activities.
- Has difficulty in holding attention on tasks or play activities.
- Gives the impression of not listening when spoken to directly.
- Fails to follow through on instructions and is unable to finish assigned schoolwork or chores (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
- Faces trouble organising tasks and activities.
- Dislikes and avoid tasks that require mental effort over a long period.
- Tends to lose things required for completing tasks or activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools etc.)
- Is often easily distracted
- Is often forgetful in daily activities, like doing chores.
ADHD signs and symptoms – Hyperactivity and Impulsivity
While showing signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity, the child
- Is fidgety, taps hands or feet or often squirms while seated.
- Usually stands up when the situation demands to seat.
- Inappropriate running, jumping or climbing (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless)
- Usually avoids taking part or play in quite leisurely activities.
- Is generally “on the go”. Feels as if “driven by a motor”.
- Often talks non-stop or speaks out of turn.
- Often blurts out an answer before listening to a question completely.
- Has trouble waiting their turn.
- Often interrupts a conversation or intrudes while playing games
If you suspect that your child has more than one of these ADHD signs and symptoms, read the next section to know about your next step.