what are some of the signs of adhd or add?
Katherine - posted on 05/06/2012
Children with ADD/ADHD may be:
Inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive.
Hyperactive and impulsive, but able to pay attention.
Inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive (the most common form of ADD/ADHD).
Children who only have inattentive symptoms of ADD/ADHD are often overlooked, since they’re not disruptive. However, the symptoms of inattention have consequences: getting in hot water with parents and teachers for not following directions; underperforming in school; or clashing with other kids over not playing by the rules.
Spotting ADD / ADHD at different ages
Because we expect very young children to be easily distractible and hyperactive, it’s the impulsive behaviors—the dangerous climb, the blurted insult—that often stand out in preschoolers with ADD/ADHD.
By age four or five, though, most children have learned how to pay attention to others, to sit quietly when instructed to, and not to say everything that pops into their heads. So by the time children reach school age, those with ADD/ADHD stand out in all three behaviors: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Inattentive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD
It isn’t that children with ADD/ADHD can’t pay attention: when they’re doing things they enjoy or hearing about topics in which they’re interested, they have no trouble focusing and staying on task. But when the task is repetitive or boring, they quickly tune out.
Staying on track is another common problem. Children with ADD/ADHD often bounce from task to task without completing any of them, or skip necessary steps in procedures. Organizing their schoolwork and their time is harder for them than it is for most children.
Kids with ADD/ADHD also have trouble concentrating if there are things going on around them; they usually need a calm, quiet environment in order to stay focused.
Symptoms of inattention in children:
Doesn’t pay attention to details
Makes careless mistakes
Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
Appears not to listen when spoken to
Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
Gets bored with a task before it’s completed
Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items
Hyperactive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD
The most obvious sign of ADD/ADHD is hyperactivity. While many children are naturally quite active, kids with hyperactive symptoms of attention deficit disorder are always moving.
They may try to do several things at once, bouncing around from one activity to the next. Even when forced to sit still which can be very difficult for them their foot is tapping, their leg is shaking, or their fingers are drumming.
Symptoms of hyperactivity in children:
Positive effects of ADD & ADHD in children
Constantly fidgets and squirms
Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
Is always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor
May have a quick temper or a “short fuse”
Impulsive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD
The impulsivity of children with ADD/ADHD can cause problems with self-control. Because they censor themselves less than other kids do, they’ll interrupt conversations, invade other people’s space, ask irrelevant questions in class, make tactless observations, and ask overly personal questions.
Instructions like “Be patient” and “Just wait a little while” are twice as hard for children with ADD/ADHD to follow as they are for other youngsters.
Children with impulsive signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD also tend to be moody and to overreact emotionally. As a result, others may start to view the child as disrespectful, weird, or needy.
Symptoms of impulsivity in children:
Acts without thinking
Blurts out answers in class without waiting to be called on or hear the whole question
Can’t wait for his or her turn in line or in games
Says the wrong thing at the wrong time
Often interrupts others
Intrudes on other people’s conversations or games
Inability to keep powerful emotions in check, resulting in angry outbursts or temper tantrums
Guesses, rather than taking time to solve a problem
Is it really ADD / ADHD?
Just because a child has symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity does not mean that he or she has ADD or ADHD. Certain medical conditions, psychological disorders, and stressful life events can cause symptoms that look like ADD / ADHD.
Before an accurate diagnosis of ADD / ADHD can be made, it is important that you see a mental health professional to explore and rule out the following possibilities:
Learning disabilities or problems with reading, writing, motor skills, or language.
Major life events or traumatic experiences (e.g. a recent move, death of a loved one, bullying, divorce).
Psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
Behavioral disorders such as conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.
Medical conditions, including thyroid problems, neurological conditions, epilepsy, and sleep disorders.
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