10 Signs of ADHD in Children

Aug 14, 2013 Nov 19, 2016

Reviewed by Paul Ballas, DO

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Though many children show some of the following behaviors, a child exhibiting many or all of these signs may have ADHD. Though this does not necessarily mean your child has ADHD, parents who have noticed many of these behaviors should discuss any concerns with their physician.

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Inability to sustain attention

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Naturally, children are not the most attentive during younger years. However, it is fairly easy to tell if a child has extreme difficulty paying attention to anything – even enjoyable activities – for more than a few minutes.  If this is the case, you may want to talk to your doctor.

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Constant distraction

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Children who are constantly distracted by sights and sounds may be exhibiting symptoms of ADHD.  Yes, this is also normal for young children, but parents may want to monitor a child’s behavior if there are other symptoms present or the attention cannot be sustained beyond a sight or sound.

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Difficulty sustaining eye contact

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This symptom is not exclusive to children, as difficulty maintaining eye contact during conversation is also an issue with people who suffer from ADHD through adulthood.  This seems to be a product of the inattention and hyperactivity, leading a person to constantly be in motion rather than sustaining eye contact.

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Able to pay attention to high-interest things

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One theory states those with ADHD can actually devote all of their interest into one activity at a time, so long as they are hyper-focused on the issue. In adolescents, parents may see this with a video game obsession, among others. Children with ADHD may also be able to stay on task only in high-energy activities.

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Excessively hyperactive / always in motion

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One of the key symptoms of ADHD is the H – hyperactivity.  Children traditionally have waves of energy and rest, but if a child appears never to rest and is always in motion over the course of an entire day, it may be time to contact the pediatrician.

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Lack of interest in reading or cuddling

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Affection is often exhibited by children, though an absence of this activity could be indicative of a social problem or, depending on what the child is opting to do instead, could be a sign of ADHD.  If a child is so wrapped up in an activity that there is disinterest in social activity, you may want to contact your doctor.

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Difficulty calming down

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Calming children down after he or she is excited is never easy, but there’s behavior that goes beyond the norm. Though there is no definitive length of calm-down time that determines whether he or she has ADHD, it may be wise to monitor your child and discuss the findings with your pediatrician.

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Highly impulsive

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Another key symptom of ADHD in other age groups is impulsivity.  ADHD patients often act without thinking, and children are no different.  Though your child may seem to be a risk-taker or may not have a fully developed sense of consequences, there should be some control over impulses.

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Accident prone

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Children are bound to get injured at some point.  However, if your child seems to have more accidents than “normal,” it may be indicative of difficulty with impulse control.  Take note if a child does not have a sense of thought-process before an activity – including those that result in accidents.

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Difficulty sleeping

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As a child ages, sleep schedules should become more regular. Though not necessarily an adult sleep schedule, children who do not seem to require much sleep at all may be exhibiting ADHD. How much does your child actually sleep at night?  How is his or her energy level affected? Consider these when talking to your pediatrician.

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