Learn about the symptoms of ADHD and what to do if you’re concerned that your child might have this disorder.
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), and in some cases, are overly active.
Signs and Symptoms
It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.
- have a hard time paying attention
- daydream a lot
- not seem to listen
- be easily distracted from schoolwork or play
- forget things
- be in constant motion or unable to stay seated
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- not be able to play quietly
- act and speak without thinking
- have trouble taking turns
- interrupt others
Deciding if a child has ADHD is a several step process. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms. One step of the process involves having a medical exam, including hearing and vision tests, to rule out other problems with symptoms like ADHD. Another part of the process may include a checklist for rating ADHD symptoms and taking a history of the child from parents, teachers, and sometimes, the child.
If you or your doctor has concerns about ADHD, you can take your child to a specialist such as a child psychologist or developmental pediatrician, or you can contact your local early intervention agency (for children under 3) or public school (for children 3 and older).
To find out who to speak to in your area, you can contact the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by logging on to http://www.nichcy.org/ or calling 1-800-695-0285.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsors the National Resource Center, on AD/HD: A Program of CHADD – Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Their Web site has links to information for people with ADHD and their families. The National Resource Center on AD/HD operates a call center with trained staff to answer questions about ADHD. The number is 1-800-233-4050.
In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for ADHD as early as possible.
Child Development and Parenting
Learn the Signs. Act Early. Campaign
CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities