Signs That Your Child May Have ADHD

According to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately eleven percent of American children, between four and seventeen years old, have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at some point in their lives. In fact, it is one of the most common childhood conditions out there, which means it shouldn't come as a surprise that many parents express concerns about whether or not their children might have it. Parents concerned should keep an eye out for the following key signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and discuss it with their child's primary physician.

Frequent Fidgeting


It's normal for a child to fidget at the dinner table when they don't want to eat their vegetables, but when a child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, their fidgeting will be much more noticeable and frequent. Do they run around when instructed to sit? Once sitting, do they squirm and fidget? This symptom is, of course, a hyperactive characteristic. Many children with ADHD simply aren't happy when they're inactive. Activities that require both focus and energy can help mitigate these issues by providing a constructive outlet for excess energy while also providing a framework to improve the child's focus. Of course, it is crucial to note children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also appear to have issues with focus, so using these activities can also reveal more symptoms.

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Often Blurt Out Words


More often than not, children with ADHD will blurt out comments or phrases, even when it's inappropriate to do so. This is because ADHD patients suffer from immense impulsivity. If a child with ADHD has something to say, then, they may do so without thinking of the consequences. Their teachers may have told parents their child blurts out answers before questions are completed, or speaks over others in the class. ADHD comes with an inability to control impulses, including responses to stimuli such as questions. This lack of impulse control is a defining feature of ADHD, but may present in other ways.

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Lack Focus


Children of all ages can easily become bored with their minds aren't stimulated, but for children with ADHD, their lack of focus is much more severe. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often causes children to be highly inattentive, as they struggle to pay attention to one set task.

Although homework can be challenging for many children, parents and teachers may notice a child with ADHD continually does not follow through with their assigned school work, or basic chores can become a battle against distraction to get done. It is important for the continual lack of focus to be present if ADHD could be the reason, since anyone, particularly children, can be distracted occasionally.

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Lose Things Easily


Misplacing their pencil case does not mean a child has ADHD, but if parents have noticed their child loses various items on a regular basis, it may be an indication of inattention and could mean they are dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Whether they lose school materials, keys, or their glasses, parents will often notice their child misplaces and loses things that are necessary to complete daily tasks. Pieces of clothing, particularly items like mittens and hats are also common items for children with ADHD will often lose track of.

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Talk Excessively


Parents should encourage their children to be outgoing and social, since this will help them build many skills and develop healthy friendships. However, children with ADHD will often take something like this to the extreme. Parents with a child who has this condition, just like they might see their child has an incredibly hard time sitting still for any period, will often notice their child will also talk excessively. In fact, children with ADHD may even talk seemingly non-stop, particularly in settings in which they are told to be quiet.

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Exhibit Poor Social Skills


While a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be quite talkative, as discussed previously, they may exhibit poor social skills and may not have good self-control or interact all that well with other kids. Children with ADHD may be unknowingly disrespectful, as their other symptoms, such as their lack of focus and hyperactivity, can often make it difficult for them to register appropriate social cues occurring around them. While playing games they can often come across as quite aggressive and bossy to other players. These behaviors and effects can make them a source of annoyance to other kids. In some cases, children with ADHD may eventually prefer to play alone if they have found it is difficult for them to interact positively with others.

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Often Overreact In Terms Of Their Emotions


As has been hinted at, children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often have extreme difficulties in regulating their emotions. This results in them often being quick to anger, showing more excitement than normal, crying in response to distress quite quickly, and similar reactions. Children with ADHD often have more tantrums than the typical child, although tantrums alone are not enough to say a child has the condition.

While hyperactivity is in the name of the condition, children with ADHD are often also called hypersensitive. These strong emotions, as indicated, can take many forms, including anger, anxiety, depression, and more. The extreme difficulty children with ADHD have in regulating their emotions can make it quite painful for them.

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Impatient To Wait Their Turn


One of the first behaviors parents will notice in their child is them being impatient to wait their turn. This is a broad behavior that covers many areas. Children with ADHD struggle with being able to wait their turn in lines or to speak. Checkout lanes can quickly become a parent's nightmare with a child who is too impatient to wait their turn. As shoppers or as employees, many individuals will have seen the child in meltdown mode in the middle of a store. Often this behavior is due to the inability to wait their turn. In the classroom children will struggle with sharing toys or materials, recess, bathroom breaks, getting and eating their lunch, or even traveling to other classes. The child will have notes sent home or spend a lot of time in the principal's office due to being too impatient for turn-taking, including while playing games with others in their class.

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Avoids Tasks Requiring Significant Mental Effort


Children who struggle with ADHD often avoid tasks requiring significant mental effort. Again, this is a behavior that covers multiple settings. At home children will avoid tasks such as cleaning or organizing their room. Chores will often be forgotten, typically because the effort required to complete the chores is too much for their brain to process. In the classroom, this behavior will present itself in different forms but will come to the same conclusion of avoiding tasks requiring significant mental effort. The child may be labeled as a trouble maker or the child will sleep through classes. Instead of feeling like they are stupid and can't do something, the child will act out or sleep so no one knows the true struggle they are facing. It is a defense mechanism many teachers can identify. This often includes not completing homework assignments or doing so quite poorly.

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Frequently Daydreams


It is not uncommon for children to daydream and lose their focus occasionally, as previously discussed, but children who have ADHD often fall into intense and prolonged daydreams on a regular basis. This is slightly different than simply losing focus and changing to a different task or activity. This is pausing and not doing anything at all.

Children who frequently daydream are not just lazy or confused. Often, their mind is racing so quickly and their thoughts are changing too rapidly for the child to be able to get out of their head. A child who frequently daydreams will often struggle with school. Classwork will go uncompleted and homework may end up forgotten or not even known about. As one of the top symptoms of ADHD in children, especially children in grade school, teachers will notice this kind of behavior and attempt to work with parents on ways to help the behavior itself.

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Symptoms Exist In Multiple Settings


For a diagnosis to occur, the symptoms of ADHD must typically exist in multiple settings. Generally, the behaviors will need to appear consistently in both the school and home settings at the very least. If the child is involved in other settings, such as after-school activities, it helps to identify if their symptoms present there as well. To diagnose ADHD, psychologists will question parents and often get them to bring in testimony from others who interact with their child regularly. This will include school personnel, extended family members, babysitters, after-school activity instructors, or even tutors. This information is necessary so the psychologist is able to get a picture of how the child's behaviors affect them multiple settings. Not only will this help in diagnosing what is going on, but if it is ADHD, this information will also help the psychologist, parents, and teachers focus their efforts and support where the child in question needs it the most. Sometimes children with ADHD will be given medication, but they may also require additional classroom attention, help with homework, and more.