Common ADHD Symptoms in Children

Child with undiagnosed ADHD attempting to do homework

According to the CDC, 9.6% of American children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In many cases, if a child doesn’t receive appropriate treatment, it can negatively affect schoolwork, relationships, and self-esteem. 

While ADHD isn’t “curable,” it can be manageable with the appropriate treatment and behavioral interventions. The first step in helping a child overcome ADHD is to notice the symptoms. The second step is to take action. 

If your child exhibits common ADHD symptoms, it’s essential to work with a pediatrician or mental health expert to have them assessed and professionally diagnosed as soon as possible. The sooner they begin treatment, the better it will be for them now and in the future. 

Continue reading to learn more about common ADHD symptoms in children below. 

Common Symptoms of ADHD

Generally, childhood ADHD symptoms come in two forms: Inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsiveness. In most cases, children with ADHD exhibit symptoms from both categories. 

ADHD symptoms can start as early as three years old and are usually noticeable by the time a child is 12. Symptoms can be severe, moderate, or mild. 

The three recognized subtypes of ADHD are: 

  • Predominantly inattentive 
  • Predominantly impulsive/hyperactive 
  • A mixture of inattention and impulsivity/hyperactivity

However, roughly 25% of people only have problems with concentration or focus. This form of ADHD is called attention deficit disorder (ADD). 

Boys are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD at higher rates than girls because boys are more likely to show easily noticeable symptoms – which means that girls are more likely to undiagnosed or miss diagnosed ADHD.

Symptoms in Children And Teens

Parents of children, teachers, and others that spend a lot of time with a child are likely to notice the signs and symptoms of ADHD the fastest. A child may exhibit signs of ADHD at school, home, family gatherings, afterschool tutoring, or other extracurricular activities. 

Inattentiveness (hard to concentrate or focus)

A child who exhibits inattentiveness may show the following symptoms, but not limited to: 

  • Inability to pay attention to details (i.e., careless mistakes on schoolwork)
  • Easily distracted in most situations
  • Easily forgets things or loses things 
  • Inability to stick to activities that require a lot of time or detail 
  • Difficulty organizing tasks
  • Appear to ignore instructions even when directly spoken to

Hyperactivity & Impulsivity 

The symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity are as follows, but are not limited to: 

  • Inability to sit still for a prolonged time (i.e., fidgeting, squirming, tapping, etc.)
  • Inability to concentrate on activities 
  • Taking action before considering the consequences 
  • Inability to “wait in line” for their turn 
  • Excessively talkative and prone to interrupting conversations 
  • Lack of a sense of a danger 

If your child is showing signs of ADHD, it’s in their best interest to seek help as soon as possible. Otherwise, they may underachieve in school, have issues interacting with other kids, and present themselves as a disciplinary problem. 

Co-Occurring Conditions With ADHD

Sometimes, children exhibit symptoms of co-occurring conditions in combination with ADHD. A few of the most common related conditions in children and teens with ADHD include: 

  • Depression 
  • Oppositional defiant disorder 
  • Anxiety 
  • Problems sleeping 
  • Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) 
  • Learning disorders 
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Conduct disorder 
  • And more 

Our pediatrics team at Newport Children’s Medical Group conducts thorough behavioral and developmental evaluations to determine if your child has ADHD or another condition. If your child is diagnosed with a condition, we provide step-by-step treatment plans that may include changes to their diet, increased exercise, medication, and counseling. 

Normal Behavior Vs. Signs of ADHD in Children

Most people are inattentive or hyperactive at some point during childhood. Further, some children are just naturally hyperactive or energetic. With that said, children who only exhibit the symptoms of ADHD in specific circumstances (but not others) may not have ADHD. 

They may be dealing with another condition, or there may be outside forces that influence their behavior. However, if you’re unsure, it’s always recommended to have your child professionally assessed. At a minimum, an assessment can shed light on the real issues and increase the likelihood of a solution that benefits your child and their future. 

Contact A Pediatric ADHD Specialist Today

If you suspect your child has ADHD, then every second they remain undiagnosed is an opportunity lost. ADHD in children is challenging for parents, teachers, and most importantly, the child. 

We have the resources, staff, and referral power to help your child overcome ADHD and other conditions. Contact Newport Children’s Medical Group today to schedule an appointment with a compassionate and knowledgeable pediatrician.