Daydreaming: Early Signs Your Child May Have ADHD

Daydreaming: Early Signs Your Child May Have ADHDDoes your child’s teacher often complain that your child regularly daydreams during class, making it hard for him or her to concentrate on assignments and pay attention in class?  Are you concerned that some of these inattentive tendencies may ultimately impact your child’s ability to maintain good grades and achieve overall academic success?  Believe it or not, daydreaming and inattentiveness may actually indicate the presence of ADHD in your child, but with proper treatment you may be able to help your child manage these troublesome symptoms.  In this article we will discuss the topic of ADHD in a bit more detail, including the signs and symptoms, the different types of the disorder and how daydreaming symptoms fit into the equation.

ADHD and the Symptoms

Based on what doctors and researchers now know about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the condition is a neurological disorder that adversely affects behavior, focus and concentration.  ADHD is present in an estimated 7% to 14% of children, with boys affected 3x as often as girls.  Studies also show that close to 50 percent of those children with ADHD will continue to demonstrate the symptoms of the disorder well into adolescence and adulthood.

ADHD is characterized by symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, but contrary to popular myth, not all ADHD children will show signs of all three major symptom groups.

ADHD Diagnosis and Types

ADHD can be difficult to diagnose, as there is no specific test to identify the disorder in children.  Instead doctors use information from parents and teachers to measure the frequency and severity of certain symptoms and behaviors as outlined by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV).  As a result of these tests, doctors will typically offer one of three diagnoses:

  • ADHD-Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
  • ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive Type
  • ADHD-Combined (Both Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive Tendencies)

Inattentive Type ADHD:  Daydreaming and other Symptoms

If you’re reading this and asking, “So, a child can actually be suffering from ADHD and NOT show signs of hyperactive and impulsive behavior?”  The answer is yes.  Children coping with the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD may never show any signs of hyperactivity, despite the public’s common perception that ADHD children are always going to be “hyper” and out of control.  However, the inattentive type of ADHD will lead to daydreaming and other types of symptoms.

Children with ADHD—predominantly inattentive type— tend to daydream frequently, largely due to their difficulty or inability to focus and concentrate on a task.  They may also display other symptoms that will accompany their daydreaming tendencies, including:

  • Frequently makes careless mistakes on schoolwork and other activities
  • Does not seem to listen, even when spoken to directly
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Forgetful, misplacing items such as books, toys, pencils, school assignments and even shoes
  • And many more…

These are just a few of the criterion used by doctors and other mental health professionals to measure the inattentive type of ADHD in children.  Parents and teachers of a child should look for a number of clues, including those listed here, when deciding whether or not the child could benefit from a professional diagnosis.  For example, children who frequently seem to be daydreaming—off in another world of their own—and who simultaneously demonstrate some of the other symptoms and behaviors mentioned above, including forgetfulness, disorganization, hard time staying on task and  difficulties with focusing and concentrating, may be able to benefit from some of the more common ADHD treatments.  These include stimulant and non-stimulant medication, behavioral and cognitive therapy and lifestyle and dietary changes, all designed to help children and their parents effectively manage the symptoms and curtail the problem behaviors associated with ADHD.