Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children (ADHD in Children or Childhood ADHD)

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

ADHD Symptoms in Children

Quick GuideADHD Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms in Children

ADHD Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms in Children

What are childhood ADHD symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of ADD/ADHD include the following:

Inattention

  • Often makes careless mistakes or has problems paying attention to detail
  • Poor concentration during tasks or leisure activities
  • Does not seem to be listening and appears to zone out when spoken to directly
  • Frequently fails to complete instructions or to complete work tasks or chores
  • Often has trouble organizing a task or activity
  • Short attention span
  • Frequently avoids, dislikes, or resists participating in activities that require sustained concentration due to difficulty focusing
  • Repeatedly loses things needed to complete tasks or activities
  • Easily distracted by extraneous input or unrelated thoughts
  • Frequent forgetfulness/absentmindedness

Hyperactivity/impulsivity

  • Often engages in fidgeting or tapping hands or feet
  • Frequently has trouble staying seated
  • Frequent restlessness or boredom
  • Has trouble engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Engages in multiple activities at once
  • Often talks excessively
  • Repeatedly interrupts others talking
  • Trouble waiting his or her turn
  • Often intrudes on others

The fact that children with ADHD may be able to highly focus on activities they enjoy, even excessively, does not mean that they do not have the condition. The difference in attention of ADHD children is that they tend to be less able to pay attention consistently, particularly when required to complete less pleasurable activities. Their trouble sitting still may involve engaging in behaviors like running or climbing in situations where it is unsafe or otherwise inappropriate. While symptoms like insomnia, irritability, tantrums, otherwise quick temper or difficulty managing their anger, as well as low frustration tolerance, are not specific to ADHD or required for its diagnosis, many children, teens, and adults with this illness have these symptoms.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/2/2016

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