10 Signs Your Child May Have ADHD

Filed under: Behavior, Social & Emotional Growth: Tweens, Health

ADHD signs

What are the warning signs of ADHD? Credit: Getty Images


Are you alarmed that your daughter constantly misplaces schoolwork and other vital items? Does your son's inattention when you share a story you found fascinating at his age worry you? Does sitting still for more than five seconds seem an impossible feat for your preschooler -- and should you take action?

The three main traits of ADHD, a neurobehavioral disorder that makes it difficult for children to control their behavior, are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. What child doesn't ever display these "symptoms," you may ask? Since most healthy children struggle with aspects of these behaviors it can be difficult for parents to know when to seek help.

So, how do you distinguish between normal kid behaviors and those that indicate your child may have ADHD, a treatable disorder, that, according to the AAP, affects 4 to 14 percent of children?

There are many overlapping traits, but here are 10 signals that your child's actions may be worrisome. It's when your child exhibits several of these behaviors and they are the rule, rather than the exception, that you may want to pursue a professional diagnosis.

1. Forgetfulness. She often forgets or loses routine items, such as her lunch box or
backpack.

2. Trouble paying attention to details. He doesn't appear to be listening and
struggles with following directions.

3. Overly impulsive. She often acts before thinking, without considering consequences or previously discussed plans.

4. Over-focused on tasks. She may get "stuck" in a routine or behavior and have trouble disengaging.

5. Has trouble shifting focus. This behavior becomes especially noticeable at
school.

6. Doesn't complete tasks. When assigned a project or chore, she finds it hard to finish and is easily distracted by her "more interesting" surroundings.

7. Constantly fidgets and squirms. When asked to sit in a chair, he may try to get up and run around or fidget and squirm endlessly.

8. Talks excessively. She routinely interrupts others and doesn't give them a
chance to respond.

9. Can't keep powerful emotions (good or bad) in check. He may over react with outbursts of anger or throw a temper tantrum that seems unwarranted.

10. Has difficulty waiting for her turn. In class, or when playing games, she grows impatient and irritable while waiting.

If you're concerned that your child is displaying some of these signs of ADHD, keep in mind that most children who are diagnosed have some combination of these behaviors. Also, signs and symptoms may be noticeable as early as 2 or 3 years of age, but a school setting often makes symptoms more apparent.

The first step might be to compare notes with your child's teacher, and, if you still have questions, see your pediatrician or family doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, but it's important to have a medical evaluation first to check for other causes of your child's difficulties.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.