Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short. It’s really not a great name. ADHD is more than just problems with attention or having too much energy. It’s more complex and nuanced than its name suggests. And how do you even know if a child is having problems with their attention or focus or energy level? Here, you’ll find answers to these important questions and info about the formal symptoms of ADHD in children. In the attached video, I’ll give you real life examples that might be signs of ADHD in kids. And talk about the 3 key things to pay attention to when it comes to ADHD symptoms.
ADHD can look different for everyone. There are actually three types of ADHD:
- inattentive, meaning most of the symptoms are about trouble with focus and distractibility
- hyperactive, where the symptoms are more about outward energy, like sitting still, fidgeting, and talking a lot
- combined, where someone has symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity
These symptoms have to be causing problems in more than one setting, like both at home and at school. And they have to be causing those problems for at least 6 months. Technically, to meet formal criteria for ADHD, you have to have trouble with 6 or more of the symptoms below.
Formal DSM Symptoms of ADHD in Children:
Inattention: Six or more ADHD symptoms for children up to 16 years old.
- Often doesn’t pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
- Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks.
- Often does not seem to listen, even when spoken to directly.
- Problem following through on instructions.
- Trouble organizing tasks and activities.
- Trouble doing tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time.
- Often loses things.
- Easily distracted.
- Forgetful in daily activities.
Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more ADHD symptoms for children up to 16 years old.
- Often fidgets or squirms in seat.
- Trouble staying seated when it’s expected.
- Runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate.
- Trouble staying quiet in activities.
- Is often “on the go”, as if “driven by a motor”.
- Talks excessively.
- Blurts out answers.
- Trouble waiting their turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others.
But what do all of these symptoms really mean? Because in reality, we all have trouble with some of them at different times. Watch the video below to learn this and the 3 key things to pay attention to when it comes to ADHD symptoms. Have other child ADHD questions? Check out my “Ask Dr. Jacque” page to find answers to the most common child anxiety or ADHD questions. And sign up for free to ask your questions!