ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a complex mental health condition to understand and diagnose. Especially in children, as it is normal for a child to occasionally display symptoms that are associated with ADHD. But it’s important for parents to recognize and identify prolonged and persistent symptoms of ADHD in children, as the disorder, when undiagnosed and untreated, can create challenges in your child’s ability to achieve academically and socialize with their peers.
ADHD is a genetic mental health disorder that causes an individual to display heightened levels of hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive behaviors. Symptoms of ADHD first appear in children, though the disorder can continue to impact people into adulthood.
ADHD is a common disorder, affecting about 6.1 million children in the United States according to CHADD. That number reflects roughly 9.4% of all children, however most medical experts believe the number is higher as children can often go undiagnosed. ADHD can be diagnosed in very young children, but most often symptoms begin to reveal themselves around the age of eight.
12 Signs of ADHD
Diagnosing ADHD, and the specific type of ADHD, a child has can only be done by a trained medical expert after thorough testing, but here are 12 signs that parents should be mindful of that may suggest that a child should be tested for ADHD.
1. Inability to Focus
There are three broad types of ADHD, one of which is called Inattentive ADHD. Formally referred to as ADD, a primary symptom of Inattentive ADHD is the inability of an individual to focus. If a child is struggling to focus, even when being addressed directly, it could be a sign the child has ADHD.
All children will display the occasional lack of patience, but if a child consistently struggles to wait their turn during classroom tasks or when participating in group activities with other children, it could suggest that the child has ADHD. The impatience could result in them acting out of turn or speaking out when they shouldn’t be.
3. Self-Focused Behavior
If a child shows a pattern of self-focused behavior and a lack or recognition of other people’s needs, ADHD could be the culprit. Self-focused behavior is somewhat of a parent symptom of ADHD, as a number of symptoms on this list tie into self-focused behavior.
4. Emotional Outbursts
A child suffering from ADHD may struggle to keep a lid of their emotions. Their difficulty to manage their feelings can display itself through emotional outbursts or temper tantrums.
5. Difficulty Remaining Still
Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD is another one of the three broad types of ADHD, and one of it’s prevailing symptoms is difficulty sitting still. Fidgeting and squirming are two of the primary ways that children will display their challenge with sitting still. If a child struggles to sit still during times where they are expected to be still, it could be evidence of ADHD.
6. Problems Playing Quietly
This symptom is closely tied to the one above. When a child is fidgeting and squirming while playing or during leisure activities, typically that will also include making noise. Examples include: tapping a pencil against their desk, bouncing their leg or foot while playing, or humming and mumbling when inappropriate.
7. Unfinished Tasks
Children with ADHD show interests in a variety of things. While have a diverse number of interests is a positive trait, it can also make it difficult for a child to finish a task. A child that demonstrates a pattern of failing to finish tasks such as chores, homework, or games, might be failing to do so because their ADHD is causing their mind and focus to wander off toward different things.
A child that is prone to interrupting their parents, siblings, classmates, and teachers could be causing conflict in their relationships. This symptom is closely aligned with self-focused behavior. If diagnosed and treated properly, the desire and urge to interrupt people can be mitigated significantly.
Children are going to make mistakes. However, if a child is making a series of mistakes that appear careless and lazy, ADHD could be at play. A pattern of mistakes that represent a failure to follow instructions or double check work is a common symptom of ADHD, and creates challenges for a child at school.
10. Avoiding Challenging Tasks
Sometimes children suffering from ADHD will begin to cope with their disorder by recognizing difficult and mentally-straining tasks, and then avoid them. Tasks could be instruction intensive and require mental stamina, which for a child with ADHD is very challenging without treatment.
We’re all guilty of daydreaming on occasion. Especially if we’re bored or disinterested in the task or activity at hand. But a pattern of getting lost in thought and daydreaming could indicate that a child is suffering from ADHD.
Forgetfulness is a sign of inattentive behavior, and could indicate ADHD. Children with ADHD may forget particular steps of a task, homework assignments, and chores. Additionally, they may forget where they placed certain objects. A child that commonly loses toys, supplies, or clothing may be suffering from ADHD.
Testing Children for ADHD
At Family Psychiatry and Therapy, our team of professionals possess over 20 years of brain-training experience that, in combination with our state-of-the-art technology, makes us the go-to mental health professionals for ADHD testing and treatment. ADHD is a complex disorder that warrants thorough and comprehensive testing and evaluation. Unfortunately, children are sometimes quickly diagnosed and prescribed medication, when that is not always the best solution.
When we test a child for ADHD we take time and care to identify the particular type of ADHD a child is experiencing, and create a custom-built training system to help them overcome the symptoms of ADHD.
To schedule a diagnostic evaluation for your child, or to learn more about why we are so good at what we do, contact us today.