For many of us, it can be hard to tell the difference between normal childhood behavior and something more serious like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is a common behavioral disorder. Around 10 percent of children live with ADHD. It affects boys three times as much as girls, according to KidsHealth.org.
Diagnosing ADHD can be difficult as symptoms vary from child to child. An expert diagnosis is often the only way to know for sure whether your child has it, said WebMD.com.
There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive and a combination of them both. A combination is the most common situation.
Symptoms of inattentive ADHD include:
- Difficulty paying attention to details
- Making careless mistakes
- Having a tough time staying focused
- Obvious problems with listening
- Problems with following instructions
- Avoiding situations that require thoughtfulness or mental effort
- Repeatedly losing things, from toys to homework
- Forgetting things during daily activities
- Having trouble staying organized, planning ahead and finishing projects
- Being easily bored
Symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD include:
- Constantly fidgeting and wriggling around
- Having a hard time staying seated during class or similar situations
- Being in constant motion, possibly running or climbing at inappropriate times
- Talking excessively
- Having difficulty when it comes to playing quietly or relaxing
- Having a short fuse or having a tough time controlling his/her temper
- Not thinking before acting
- Repeatedly saying inappropriate things at inappropriate times
- Not waiting to hear the entire question being asked before blurting out an answer
- Guessing at answers rather than taking time to problem solve
- Having difficulty waiting in line
- Often interrupting or intruding on others
These ADHD signs and symptoms can hit children at different times.
When it comes to toddlers and preschoolers, we know they can be both active and unruly, but if their unruly behavior is extreme, it could be ADHD, wrote WebMD.com.
“Not all children with ADHD are hyperactive. But if a child is, it will show during the elementary school-age years,” said WebMD.com.
With teenagers, hyperactivity may improve as they get older. But sitting for a long period of time can cause him or her to feel uncomfortable and restless. While a teen may experience difficulty focusing on his or her homework, video games may be something they can enjoy and focus on for longer periods of time. Video games give kids immediate gratification.
Parents: it’s important to note that if you observe just a few of these possible signs or symptoms here and there, your child probably does not have ADHD.
“However, if your child shows a number of ADHD signs and symptoms that are present across many situations, it’s time to take a closer look,” stated HelpGuide.org.
"ADD / ADHD in Children." Signs and Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder in Kids. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
Hasan, Shirin. "What Is ADHD?" KidsHealth - the Web's Most Visited Site about Children's Health. The Nemours Foundation, 1 July 2014. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
Wait, Marianne. "Early ADHD Symptoms: Recognizing It in Kids, Teens, and Adults." WebMD. WebMD. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
Reviewed October 7, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
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