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ADHD Symptoms in Children - How Do You Know if Your Child Has ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children are most commonly demonstrated by lack of concentration, hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsiveness. The problem is how to you distinguish between what are signs of ADHD and what is typical behaviour for a young child? How can you know if your child truly has ADHD?


The symptoms of ADHD usually show up in the first seven years of a child’s life and include:
  • Tendencies to be aggressive
  • Frequent fidgeting and inability to sit still.
  • Excessive talking, shouting out of answers and frequent interruption of others.
  • Having problems with staying seated, standing in a line or waiting for their turn.
  • Impatient and ‘non-stop’.
  • Problems with delaying responses.
  • Inability to play quietly – usually running and climbing when expected to sit quietly.
Having read through the list it is probable that you are more confused than every – what child does not do at least one of these things every single day?

Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule. If your child shows these symptoms on occasion and in certain situations then the chances are they do not have ADHD. However, if your child is showing multiple symptoms in all environments then you should probably pay closer attention.


A common mis-conception when parents think about ADHD is to think of some sort of maniacal child who is uncontrollable and smashing everything in sight. Whilst this can happen it is only one manifestation of the condition as some children with ADHD are actually very quiet whilst their attention is focused elsewhere.

The three primary indications of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness so the signs of the condition depend on the indicators at the fore. So you may get one child who is inattentive but not hyperactive or impulsive whilst another could be all three (most frequent).

Unfortunately for the children who are not hyperactive or impulsive they often get over-looked as they are not frequently ‘playing up’.  However an inability to pay attention has consequences both academically and socially so needs to be diagnosed as quickly as possible.


If you’re worried your child may have ADHD then you should speak to their teacher. It is common for teachers to pick up on any signs first as all three indicators tend to impact on learning. Remember that children with ADHD are not always hyperactive and ‘wild’, ADHD can also impact on quieter children. If you’re having problems working out whether your child is showing symptoms or if they are just showing typical child behaviour then start keeping a journal. You should soon be able to see whether or not you have issues to address.

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