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Common Signs of ADD/ADHD

3 Common Signs of ADD/ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, four to 12 percent of school-age children have ADHD, with boys being diagnosed three times more often than girls. Because signs of ADHD overlap with typical early childhood behaviors, the condition often becomes most apparent once a child begins preschool or elementary school. To help you figure out whether your child should be evaluated for ADHD by an expert, we've summarized the condition's three common signs.

1. Inattention

Inattention is one of the main signs of ADHD in children. As Stephanie H. shares of her son who was diagnosed with ADHD: "He couldn't concentrate on anything; it seemed his mind was just jumping around from one thing to another." The following detailed list of behaviors that may indicate inattention caused by ADHD is offered by

  • Doesn't pay attention to details
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to
  • Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
  • Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
  • Gets bored with a task before it's completed
  • Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items

2. Hyperactivity

"Does [your child] have excessive motor activity and cannot sit still and squirms and is always running and climbing?" As early childhood educator Erin R. relays, hyperactivity is another typical sign that a child has ADHD. lists the following behaviors as potential signs of ADHD-related hyperactivity:

  • Constantly fidgets and squirms
  • Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
  • Moves around constantly; often runs or climbs inappropriately
  • Talks excessively
  • Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
  • Is always "on the go," as if driven by a motor
  • May have a quick temper or a "short fuse"

Notably, not all children with ADD/ADHD are hyperactive; ADD/ADHD children who are inattentive but not hyperactive may instead seem to be unmotivated and constantly spacing out.

3. Impulsivity

"Many children with ADHD are very impulsive," explains Aundrea A. According to, the following behaviors are all signs of impulsivity that could be caused by ADHD.

  • Blurts out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
  • Can't wait for his or her turn in line or in games
  • Says the wrong thing at the wrong time
  • Often interrupts others
  • Intrudes on other people's conversations or games
  • Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
  • Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem

This article is not intended as medical advice. If you are concerned your child is exhibiting signs of ADHD, consult your pediatrician.

Image Source: Thinkstock
JeanNystrom JeanNystrom 3 years

The neurofeedback program I used with my daughter was just written up in a comparison study. It's very informational and will give you better insight as to what is all about. Hope this helps!

A Little Play Attention Goes A Long Way
Additude Magazine
A Little Neurofeedback Goes a Long Way
One more study shows that controlling brain waves...

kristinaestabrook1383269109 kristinaestabrook1383269109 3 years
hi im kristina my son dante is 10 and he's been diagnosed with adhd since he started (at age5) kindergarten. He has almost all of the symptoms listed above. It can be very very frustrating at times and his memory is horrible but I'm not sure if that's due to ptsd......It's been a pain trying to find the right meds for him. He struggles at school but when he puts his mind and focus he does really good. It's a challenge but I wouldn't change him.He's perfect,loving,caring boy and i raised him on my own at 17 with a some help from my father (his papa). i just wanted to share my story about him having adha..... thank you kristina
JeanNystrom JeanNystrom 4 years
My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 8 with ADHD. I tried the medications and had complete failure. The side effects were aweful. I turned to a behavior modification/shaping program called playattention and ADHD Nanny and we have had total success. She has completed the program and we are moving on to our next journey in life together! She has friends and guess who is her best friend? ME! It takes time and it takes your patience but the outcome is worth every penny of your time and thoughts. I was skeptical at first but positive in the fact that these programs were developed by a teacher who saw the effects the medications had on his kids. I am a true believer that we can change the way the mind works. The program is based on neuroplasticity - the mind does have the capability to grow and expand. I had to share, I do believe that there are alternatives to medications I have said this a million times we just need the right "tools" to "build our house."
Proudmomma33 Proudmomma33 4 years
Hi everyone, I just wanted to say that I have a 6 year old son. I was in denial that he had any kind of disorder about a year ago, I just thought he was very active or he might grow out of it, well he was always getting in trouble at school for not sitting still on the rug and not listening to the teacher, and when the therapist asked me if he has ever been diagnosed with ADHD I was shocked and even more shocked when I did the research. I made him a doctors appointment and was given two survey questionnaires, one for me and one for his teacher. when the doctor mentioned that if he is diagnosed with ADHD than there are medications that can be used to help him. In my head I would think, no way am I ever giving my child any kind of medicine, I had a closed mind and didn't want to believe any of this. well once I got both surveys done we were back at the doctors and sure enough my son had ADHD...It took a moment to sink in, but I changed my perspective instantly. I talked to my friends and family and everyone has been so supportive. He has been on medication for almost 4 months now and he has improved so much in school and at home. now that I think back I cant believe the way I was looking at things before I learned what it was. So to any parent who is scared and felt the way I did in the beginning, I suggest you get a lot of support and info.....I love my little angel, he is the best thing that ever happen to me, I know now that all I need to do is have more patience, give lots of attention but still have a structural routine. Thank you
JODIECOOK47690 JODIECOOK47690 4 years
My 6 year old son is currently being assessed for ADHD. It is very upsetting for me as a parent because we hear shocking stories of things he does at school from his teacher & her reports shock us too as we see none of these behaviours in him at home. The psychologist & school prinicipal have both told us sometimes children with ADHD can cope very well at home & sometimes parents don't know their child has this condition, however in situations like school where children are asked to sit for long periods of time & associate with multiple children with differing personalites, their behaviour can be more apparent. It is still difficult for us to understand, as a Child Care educator myself, my husband and I have incorporated some great techniques with keeping his behaviour at home & yes it can be exhausting at times, but if we have to offer him some medication support for school then so be it, we will cross that road when we come to it. Good luck & 'good on you' to all parents/mums making huge efforts to give their child the best love & care they care. Please don't judge others, I was under the understanding this website was to gain support for each other, lets do that!
JadeClover JadeClover 5 years
and i dont want him on meds not something im 100 percent keen on, but if he does have a disorder, something that could or would help me understand him and help him x
JadeClover JadeClover 5 years
and as for running around with him i dont stop, i even go to mum n toddler groups and work as a dinner lady and get every1 involved in many and various silly games which they LOVE
JadeClover JadeClover 5 years
ive not read many comments, but this caught my attention as ive been trying to get help for my son, i have 3 children, oldest girl 5, middle (boy who im concerned) 3, and youngest boy 2, I know children develop at different rates and each is different having 3 its hard to miss, but ever since he could walk at 10 months he's been a handful, his speech is that of a 5/6 year old and when he was 18months and yabbering away i hoped that with his speech his behaviour would calm. He can't sit still for anything, eating, watching TV, playing cars/trains, he never stops talking, doesnt matter what it is he does not stop, he gets over whelmed over lots of situations and screams and kicks incesently for easily an hour+, doesnt matter what i do in that situation i cant calm him down, we've sat middle of supermarket aisle with him screaming not being able to do anything and its horrible, Homestart staff at a group i went to said something wasnt right and got my HV to make an apt but she didnt see him full blown rage she saw what my other 2 do and its not that behaviour im concerned about its the full blown tantrums that cannot be controlled, and said perfectly normal 2 yr old behaviour. He loves anything about cars and recites the cars film over and over, doesnt like music in my car as he wants to listen to the engine, and the only game i can get him to play 'still' so to speak is a puzzle which he runs to the pieces and throws them into place, whats anyones views? none my other children behave like him and its only him i find hard, be it 1 on 1 time, group time, it doesnt matter, ive tried 'story telling' on journeys so he knows what to expect but it doesnt work :O(, anyone advice?
NikkiGreen59673 NikkiGreen59673 5 years
This "disorder" is NOTHING to be alarmed about. It runs all over in my family. I have a cousin who has it and he is now the financial CEO for AT&T and was the MVP for his high school basketball team because he carried his team to the state championship. An An Uncle who has it, and he is a pastor to a church that worth millions. My father has it and he was on the board of trustees for Revereware. I have it and I am a MSN. My daughter has it and though she is in pre-k, she is learning curriculum that is for the 3rd grade. The trick it to take the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and turn them to where it works in the child's favor. None of us was ever medicated
SydelDalmasso SydelDalmasso 5 years
My word you have no idea do you!!! Some parents want to do the best for their child, have you ever considered that. Ok I have given in and am working my 7 yr girl on some kind of meds she has the ADD type.I am not a LAZY parent either I have five children 13,11,8,7,1 and so far she will be the first one I have ever thought about putting on meds. I fought it and fought it but she is falling behind in school BECAUSE she can not concentrate and stay on task. My child brings schoolwork plus she has weekly homework and it has been a fight to to keep her on task so hopefuly she can start some kind of meds and we can get her back on track and keep her there
JenniferHughes32510 JenniferHughes32510 5 years
Courtney - 'Their', not 'There'...maybe you weren't 'paying attention in English classes.
AngiePerry21275 AngiePerry21275 5 years
My son was put on meds after being diagnosed with "behavral disorder/adhd/bipolar" the school insisted he be medicated or theyt would step in with cps because it would be neglectful since the meds would help him focus on his schooling. Well a year passed and we discovered at the Dr. one day the meds gave him a heart murmur, risking his life so I decided not to be neglectful and take him off of them and will never medicate my children at all with those drugs. The school fails to see what they did by using that power over me..I will never allow it again...
ashleyyoung75053 ashleyyoung75053 5 years
You all should watch a documentary called 'The Medicated Child'.. THEN draw your own conclusions. There is a horrible, horrible truth out there..
WendyYehia WendyYehia 5 years
My 12 year old daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD/OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Ever since she was 2 I knew something was not right. I tried to get help then and was told that she's too young. She bounced around like a kangaroo from morning until night, her attention span was very short, her social skills were not good. When she started school, her behavior was even more noticeable. She couldn't concentrate in class, sometimes disrupted the class, she was unpredictable even to the point of being dangerous as she gets aggressive sometimes. It's only at age 8 that she was finally seen by a behavioral specialist who then diagnosed her. She has since been on meds Strattera (a slow release with little side effects except sometimes she will feel a bit sleepy. She also takes Risperdal for her OCD. I know that medication is not seen as a good thing but sometimes it is necessary such as the case of my daughter. I can attest that since my daughter started her meds she is much calmer and can concentrate better and can now lead a much more normal life than before. We had a trial for a while without the medication and she could not function. I feel all the parents who have an ADHD/ADD child. It's not easy but don't stop fighting. If you feel your child has this condition, I urge you to keep fighting even at a young age. The younger they are to get a diagnosis the better! Cheers all!
YellyBackus YellyBackus 6 years
On coming NOV. 18th I will be finding out if my 8 year old daughter have ADHD. Cause she sure is showing signs of it! It started when she was 5 and people told me about her odd ways and more, but I didn't want to believe it! I was like "My daughter don't have ADHD! She just a kid and just really active and all! No meds for her!" But seeing each year in school that she's getting worse (even the chores she do at home and others), I gotta get her tested and I'm trying my best! I don't know what to do! smh
CoMMember13608851287486 CoMMember13608851287486 6 years
This website has a wealth of information on the devastating effects that psychiatric drugs have on children and people!! "Too many families’ lives have been ruined in some way by today’s widespread psychiatric practice of drugging children with heavy, mind-altering drugs for supposed educational and behavioral problems. Psychiatrists’ claims and drug makers’ advertising that these drugs are “safe” when they are deadly have tragically misled parents. The worst thing that parents can do is to ignore their instincts and give in to such mental health propaganda. Respected physician, Dr. Julian Whitaker, is emphatic in his advice to parents: “Do not trust psychologists, psychiatrists and the current drug-pushing culture of modern education.” "
HuyenLuu HuyenLuu 6 years
YvetteRowe YvetteRowe 6 years
At Sheryl Sluder, my daughter is also on Focalin XR and is doing great! So glad you see such an improvement for your child.
JodieHiggs JodieHiggs 6 years
My 7 son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome & ADHD middle of last year. Trust me, when it comes to medication, it was one of the hardest decisions of my life to make. He has now been on them for just over 12 months & it was the best decision we made. We have altered his diet as well....NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURS, FLAVOURS OR PRESERVATIVES. We had a birthday party for him yesterday with 35 kids, there was not one artificial flavour, colour or preservative at that party & every single child was on their best behaviour. We still had everything you would have at a birthday party to eat. I have no regrets at all about putting my son on medication.
VickieVarnell VickieVarnell 6 years
My son was diagnosed with ADD the beginning of this year at 9 years old. He has always been very spirited and Mr. Personality and we love that about him. He would rather be jumping and climbing and outside than anywhere. He has always been well behaved not that he doesn't try us as all kids do. I noticed a problem with him in school as early as Kindergarten. Studying for spelling tests and learning to read was a chore because my son lacked a strong long term memory. We chalked it up to him being a boy and not really being into school. Homework continued to be an issue in 2nd grade and towards the end of the year we noticed he had difficulty learning math rules and still struggled in any assignment needing memorization. We would start studying on Monday in spelling and he would be quizzed a couple times a day, everyday, all the way to the test on Friday. He could get nearly all the words right the first time without even studying and by the end of the week he would spell them wrong. Memorizing times tables was a nightmare. I talked to his pediatrician when he was in 3rd grade and asked if it was normal for a child to not remember things or be able to stay on task. He said it was not normal. He gave me a checklist and I completed it and took it to his teacher. She was shocked he might have it because he was so well behaved in class. She didn't realize the countless hours everyday that we spent at home on homework going over and over the same stuff to force it into his "memory bank". My son and myself would get so frustrated and upset with each other because of this. Needless to say his doc is wonderful and tested him on different levels of Ritalin to get the right dose. My son has never been a "zombie" and although he still struggles with memory, homework is sooo much better. We do not have to spend hours everyday drilling his subjects. My son also says his brain is clearer when he is takes his medicine and doesn't call himself stupid anymore because of school struggles. Ritalin only stays in a child's system for about 12 hours and is time released so it works better the first half than the second half. He only takes it in the morning to get through school and homework. He is a very bright child and is making all A's. His pediatrician likened an ADD child's brain to that of a filing cabinet. Kids with ADD cannot pull out of their brain more than one thing at a time. If they pull out another file they have to put a file up. The part of the brain that multi-tasks and memorizes is asleep (which is funny since kids with ADD seem so active) and the medicine wakes that part of the brain up. Good luck!
JamiPackard JamiPackard 6 years
Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and ADHD are not in the same category. DSM IV specifically includes the phrse: "not due to oppositional behavior" I am a special education teacher and work with many students with ADHD as well as a parent with a child with ADHD. This article is just a small look at the iceberg we call ADHD. Parents do your research using credible sources, talk to a trusted MD and figure out the best solution for your child.
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