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Symptoms of ADHD

2 min read

Most kids daydream, fidget and interrupt conversations. So how do you know whether a child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or whether they are simply being a kid?

If they are a child with ADHD, their problems with attention and hyperactivity will be severe enough to interfere with learning and social relationships.

There are 2 groups of symptoms in ADHD:

Inattentive symptoms

  • not paying attention to details, or making careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • having difficulty remaining focused in class, conversations or reading
  • avoiding tasks that take continuous mental effort (for example, homework)
  • not following through on instructions, a tendency to start but not finish tasks
  • having difficulty organising tasks, activities, belongings or time
  • being easily distracted or daydreaming
  • losing things
  • not seeming to listen when spoken to
  • being forgetful with everyday tasks, such as chores and appointments.

Hyperactive - impulsive symptoms

  • fidgeting and squirming
  • running or climbing in situations where it is inappropriate
  • talking non-stop
  • interrupting conversations, games or activities or using people’s things without permission
  • blurting out an answer before a question has been finished
  • having difficulty waiting their turn
  • leaving the seat in class or in other situations where sitting is expected
  • being constantly in motion, as if 'driven by a motor'
  • struggling to play or do tasks quietly.

Some children show mainly inattentive symptoms and others mainly hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, but many children have features of both groups.

Treatment for ADHD

Everyone gets restless and distracted from time to time. But for people with ADHD it can be extremely hard to stay focused on a task. ADHD is treatable, however - psychological and behavioural therapies, as well as medication, can all be effective. For children, positive parenting techniques can also be beneficial.

More information

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Last reviewed: November 2016

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