Are you a parent who is a bit concerned that your school-age child’s behavior, including various symptoms involving hyperactivity and/or inattention, could be the early signs of ADHD? If so, you are certainly not alone in your concern. Millions of parents each year seek consultation with their doctor or pediatrician regarding troublesome behavioral signs in their child, and while many times the behavior is merely a reflection of the child’s age—kids being kids—in certain cases, the behavior may indeed be the early signs of ADHD, and thus warranting treatment. In this article we will take a closer look at two of the first and most prominent signs of ADHD in children—hyperactivity and inattention—and provide you with a detailed list of some of the most recognizable behaviors in each category.
Signs of ADHD in Children: Hyperactivity
Hyperactivity is one of the most noticeable signs of ADHD in children, but parents must keep in mind that not all signs of hyperactivity will necessarily be the result of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
The truth is that many children will occasionally display signs of hyperactivity, and according to experts, this is completely normal, even predictable behavior. However, when hyperactive behavior becomes the norm, when it is present most of the time, rather than occasionally, it could be one of the early signs of ADHD in children. According to doctors, the frequency of the behavior is what differentiates ADHD symptoms from normal childhood behavior, along with the way that behavior interferes with normal functioning. Also, if the child’s behavior is significantly worse than that of other children in the same age group, this could also point to ADHD.
Hyperactive behavior is usually characterized by behaviors such as:
- Constant and consistent fidgeting, squirming or restlessness
- Constantly getting up and down; never sitting in the same seat for very long
- Running, jumping and climbing—when it is inappropriate to do so
- Excessive, almost non-stop talking
- Play that is much louder than other children his/her age
- Seems to always be “on the go”
- Blurting out answers to school questions before teachers elicit responses
- Hard time waiting in line, or cutting in line ahead of other children
- Constantly intruding on, or interrupting others
Signs of ADHD in Children: Inattention
Inattention is another potential sign of ADHD in children, but again, not every episode of inattention is necessarily the result of ADHD. Frequent bouts of inattention, on the other hand, bouts that interfere with normal functioning, may be cause for concern.
The inattentive form of ADHD is the most prevalent type of ADHD in girls, and it is also one of the most difficult symptoms to diagnose, largely because inattention tends to be much more subtle than hyperactivity. This could potentially mean that many children coping with this form of ADHD will go undiagnosed.
Frequent bouts of inattention, which can be characterized by all of the following, may require parents to seek a doctor’s opinion and possible treatment:
- Child has a very difficult time following instructions
- Never seems to be listening to parents or teachers
- Has trouble focusing attention on uninteresting activities
- Frequently misplaces items, such as homework, books, toys and shoes
- Trouble paying attention to details
- Very disorganized—messy notebooks, room
- Forgetful most of the time
- Easily distracted
- Unable to plan ahead
These are just some of the early signs of ADHD in children. If you as a parent recognize these types of behaviors in your child, and if these behaviors are frequent enough that they disrupt normal functioning and merit concern, it may be time to seek the opinion of a qualified medical professional.