What is ADHD & how do I recognize a kid who might have ADHD?

Kids Quest: ADHD

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…

surprised kid

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 many kids have ADHD? 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


Here 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 Investigation
Fin, 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 Health
KidsHealth 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.

Through Children’s Eyes
A Day in the Life of a Kid with ADHD

This site, Understood.org, has information on learning and attention issues. A day in the life of a kid with ADHD explains what ADHD looks like in typical situations. There is also an interactive tool, ‘Though your Child’s Eyes’, which helps parents understand their child with those issues. You can use it to find out what it’s like for kids, too. Select an age range, click on ‘attention issues’ or ‘organization issues’ and learn more.

Facts about ADHD

Learn facts about 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.


Eight year old Giuliana gives a glimpse into her life with ADHD and many of the challenges and frustrations that come with it. Watch this video from YouTube.


5th grader Elijah talks about ADHD and how he deals with it. Watch this video from YouTube.


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Movies and Books

Here are some books about Kids with ADHD.

Slow down and Pay Attention Book
Learning 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 book
Putting 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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Super KQ with a magnifying glass

My School and Neighborhood

Understanding ADHD is not always easy. You be the doctor and figure out what might be harder for someone with ADHD to do. Remember, someone with ADHD may have only some of these characteristics; they do not have to have exhibit all of these characteristics to have ADHD. There are different types of problems – some children struggle mainly with attention and organizations, others mainly with being impulsive and overly active, some have trouble with both. All of us show some of these characteristics sometimes!

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

Characteristics that might be a symptom of ADHD
Characteristics This might be a symptom of ADHD This is not a typical symptom of ADHD.
– has difficulty paying attention to directions, details  X   X 
– answers questions carefully and thoughtfully  X   X 
– daydreams or seems disinterested  X   X 
– may lose things needed for tasks  X   X 
– likes changes in the routine and doing new things on short notice  X   X 
– gets bored and gives up on difficult tasks  X   X 

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

  • My friend, Anthony, always forgets his homework. We walk to school every morning together. Is there something I can do to help?
  • I have lots of toys in my room. When Alyssa comes over to play, she gets everything out at the same time and my room is a mess. I get mad at Alyssa and then she feels bad. How can we work this out?
  • My twin brother gets distracted and often doesn’t do his part with the tasks mom asks us to do. I get mad and I don’t want to. He feels bad about it, too. Is there something we can do so that we both feel better about it?

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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).