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What is ADHD & how do I recognize a kid who might be diagnosed as having ADHD?

Kids Quest: ADHD

surprised kid

What should you know?

People with ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (might act without thinking about what the result will be), and in some cases, are overly active. Let's learn more...

Follow the 8 steps below for your Web Quest.

Step 1: See what you think about kids with ADHD. Take the Fact Checkup!

Step 2: Think about some questions to ask. Let's see...

Step 3: Check out some quick facts.

Step 4: Check out some great websites to help you learn more.

Step 5: Find out about people who have been diagnosed with ADHD to help with your Quest.

Step 6: Learn about movies and books that can give you information.

Step 7: Check out your school and neighborhood.

Step 8: Now see if your attitudes have changed. Take the Fact Checkup again.

Let's see...

What is ADHD? What causes it? How common is it in kids like me? What are some of the symptoms?

Some things to think about....

  • What is it like to have ADHD?

  • What kind of help do kids who have ADHD need in school?

  • Do kids with ADHD need medication to help them?

Can you think of more questions to help you in your Quest? Click here to write them down so you'll remember them as you move through this QUEST.

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Quick Facts

Quick FactsHere are some facts that may help you answer some of your Web Quest questions. Remember, these facts will only give you basic information. You'll need to search the Web further to find more in-depth information for your Quest.

Kids with ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (might act without thinking about what the result will be), and in some cases, are overly active.

A child with ADHD might:

  • 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

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World-Wide Web Search

Fin, Fur, and Feather Bureau of InvestigationFin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation
Set of internet-based games ideal for kids with ADHD. Each game is designed to teach useful skills and strategies, while continually encouraging players to complete increasingly difficult tasks. To increase interest, the FFFBI Academy uses a humorous spy theme and frequent reinforcements for successful game play. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kids HealthKidsHealth Organization: ADHD
This fun site has information about what ADHD is, what causes it, what doctors do, and how it is treated. Take a look and learn more about ADHD.

CDCFacts about ADHD
Learn facts about autism like the types of Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), signs and symptoms; and how children are treated.

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Learn about people who have ADHD. Learn how they are doing at school and at home.

Matt MorganMatt Morgan
Matt is a pro wrestler. Matt talks about how he has been diagnosed with ADHD and is living his life. Ask your parents or teachers if you can watch this video on

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Movies and Books

Here are some books about Kids with ADHD.

Slow down and Pay Attention BookLearning To Slow Down & Pay Attention: A Book for Kids About Adhd
by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ellen B. Dixon, Charles Beyl
Publisher: Magination Press; 3 edition (August 30, 2004)
Reading Level: Ages: 9 to 12 years old
This updated edition includes easy-to-read text, fun cartoons, and activities, as well as loads of self-help tips for coping with friends, family, and schoolwork, getting organized, getting disciplined, and getting things done. Appropriate for ages 6-11. Full-color illustrations.

Putting on the Brakes bookPutting on the Brakes Activity Book for Kids With ADD or ADHD
by Patricia O. Quinn, Judith M. Stern, Joe Lee
Publisher: Magination Press; 2nd edition (March 15, 2009)
Reading Level: Ages 9-12 years old
Putting on the Brakes Activity Book for Kids with ADD or ADHD is an expanded and updated edition of the classic, best-selling workbook. This essential resource covers almost every area in a kid's life affected by AD/HD. Fun activities teach kids to manage attention problems and helps them in setting priorities, planning, and maintaining control of their day-to-day activities. With this book, kids put their understanding of AD/HD into action and become empowered to use new skills and to be in charge their AD/HD.

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My School and Neighborhood

Dr. KQDiagnosing someone with ADHD is not always easy. You be the doctor and sort out which characteristics would indicate a child might have ADHD. Remember, a person with ADHD may exhibit only some of these characteristics; he/she need not exhibit all of these characteristics to have ADHD. All of us exhibit some of these characteristics sometimes!

Click the button in the column that you think is the right answer.

CharacteristicsA Friend who might have ADHDA friend who probably does not have ADHD.
- has difficulty paying attention to directions, details
- asks thoughtful, relevant questions in class
- daydreams or seems disinterested
- may lose things needed for tasks
- reads long and difficult books for fun
- likes new adventures
- gets bored and gives up on difficult tasks

What can I do if I have a friend has ADHD? How can I help? Talk with your parents or teachers about the situations below.

  • My friend, Bobby, always forgets his homework. We walk to school every morning together. What can I do to help Bobby so he doesn’t get in trouble at school?
  • I have lots of toys in my room. When Peyton comes over to play, she gets everything out at the same time and my room is a mess. I get mad at Peyton and then she feels bad? How can we work this out?
  • My twin brother never helps me with the tasks mom asks us to do. I get mad and I don’t want to. How can I get my brother to help so he can feel good about helping and I can feel better, too?

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Links outside this website

We provide links to other web pages if you want to learn more about a topic. Some of these pages are on the CDC web site and others are on outside websites. Links to organizations and companies outside of CDC are included for information only. CDC has no control over the information at these sites. The views and opinions of these organizations are not necessarily those of CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS).

Good Thinking!

Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention to directions and details. They have a hard time focusing on what is being said.

Good Thinking!

Children with ADHD often answer questions quickly without thinking. They are impulsive and do not think before they respond.

Good Thinking

Children with ADHD often daydream or seem distracted in school instead of paying attention to the teacher or the task.

Good Thinking!

Children with ADHD often lose or misplace things that they need. They have trouble remembering where they put things because they can't focus on the task at hand.

Good Thinking!

Students with ADHD have difficulty sitting long enough or get interested in long books.

Good Thinking!

Kids with ADHD often do not like changes in their routine. They do not like new activities or places.

Good Thinking!

Children with ADHD often tired easily or get distracted and will give up on tasks before they are completed.


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