Join   Sign In  

How Can I Tell If My Child Has ADHD?


Children have very different energy levels and behaviors than adults. This can sometimes be concerning to parents as they are unsure if their kids' actions are normal for their age or if they may have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This condition may require behavioral therapy and medication, and can last through the teenage years and into adulthood. How can you tell if your children are being normal kids or if they may have ADHD? Read on.

Understanding ADHD

The Mayo Clinic noted that ADHD symptoms typically begin before a child reaches age 12. At the earliest, toddlers may begin to exhibit signs of this condition at the age of three. Symptoms of ADHD may be mild and occasional, moderate or severe and occur daily. There are three subtypes of ADHD to look for: One is predominantly inattentive ADHD, in which a child can't focus, has trouble getting and staying organized and can seem like he or she isn't listening. The second type is predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. The telltale signs of this type of ADHD are fidgeting, a constant need to move, talking too much and having trouble staying quiet or waiting. The final type is combined, where the child is hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive. 

It's normal for kids to misbehave on occasion, and that doesn't mean they have ADHD.

Normal kid behavior

The symptoms above may sound familiar whether your child has ADHD or not. It's normal for a child to occasionally pretend he or she doesn't hear mom or dad talking, or to feel the need to fidget and move about. ADHD symptoms may become more apparent as a child enters school age and must deal with completing homework and staying focused in class. As children grow and mature, they are likely to test boundaries and go through periods where they are more focused and task-oriented than others. If parents notice some of the symptoms above on occasion, they shouldn't be concerned - this is a normal part of growing up. However, constant inability to follow directions, behaviors that occur at home and in public or symptoms that interfere with the child's daily life may be worth consulting a doctor.

You could also talk with other parents of kids the same age as yours. Ask if their children behave in a similar manner to yours. Every child is different, but noticing what is common among your child's peers may help you get a better feel for whether you should be concerned about your own child. If you're concerned your child might have ADHD, talk with his or her teacher. Educators can share what behavior they see the student exhibiting in class, which may provide insight into the likelihood of the child having ADHD. 

If you notice consistent signs that your child may have ADHD, take him or her to see a family physician. This professional will take notice of the kid's behavior in the office as well as what you have seen at home and potentially offer a diagnosis or recommend a child psychologist. 

3 When Kids Act Out
How To Clean Up a Potty Mouth 4

You Might Like