All children can be fidgety, impulsive and have short attention spans at time – it is perfectly normal. However, for children with ADHD, these behaviours are more pronounced, occur more frequently, have a bigger impact on their lives, and occur in various settings.
Common symptoms of ADHD in children are classified as:
- Being constantly on the go
- Fidgeting a lot - finger drumming and tapping are common
- Squirming in their seat
- Leaving their seat when they are expected to sit still
- Struggling to do activities quietly, will often make a lot of noise when playing a game
- Inability to suppress activity when stillness is required
- Blurts out answers without waiting for them to be asked fully
- May not raise their hand in class but calls out answers
- Struggles to wait their turn
- Whilst waiting in line they may poke or annoy other children
- Interrupts other children’s games and conversations
- Acts without due reflection or thought
- Makes careless mistakes
- Struggles to complete tasks
- Does not listen when told instructions and needs them repeating
- Struggles to complete jobs at home or schoolwork
- Difficulties organising tasks
- Dislikes activities requiring a sustained mental effort
- Becomes easily distracted by irrelevant information
- Often loses things
- Struggles to finish tasks
- Poor handwriting
- Social clumsiness
- Poor coordination
- Mood swings
- Learning disabilities
- Difficulties sleeping such as taking a long time to fall asleep
- Bedwetting is common in children with ADHD
Not every child will experience these signs to the same degree, and it's common for their behaviour to be different or more pronounced in different settings. It’s also common for children with ADHD to experience different symptoms as they grow up, so as a parent you may notice a shift in the challenges they experience – this is normal.
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What's the difference between ADHD and add?
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and ADD (attention deficit disorder) are commonly used terms that refer to a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. However, ADD is an outdated term and is no longer commonly used in a clinical setting. Instead, the term ADHD is widely used to encompass the different subtypes, including inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive presentations.
How do you diagnose ADHD?
A diagnosis of ADHD requires an impact to be seen in various settings. A thorough assessment should seek feedback from parents, schools and other environments your child spends time in to fully understand this. It’s also important that parents understand that there can be other reasons why a child might behave in a ‘bouncy’ way or find it hard to concentrate. These may include autism or mood disorders.
Understanding the reasons behind your child’s behaviour is crucial to getting the right treatment. A thorough assessment will determine whether another reason better explains your child’s behaviours.