What are ADHD signs and symptoms in kids

By:
Bend Health
6/27/2024
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You may have experienced moments where your child's lack of focus or hyperactivity left you wondering if there could be something more going on. If you've found yourself asking, "How do I know if my child has ADHD?" you're not alone.

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is a chronic condition that affects millions of people. According to the CDC, it’s one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It’s often diagnosed in childhood and can continue throughout someone’s life well into adulthood. 

Being easily distracted vs. having ADHD 

There’s a difference between having ADHD and being easily distracted. It’s normal for children to be disorganized, forgetful, have difficulty prioritizing tasks, avoid responsibility, and be prone to making mistakes. However, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition in which a person’s brain has difficulty compartmentalizing tasks, thoughts, and emotions.

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ADHD can show up in many ways and change over time. Kids with ADHD may have a hard time:

  • Knowing when to focus on small details and when to focus on the bigger picture
  • Holding a train of thought when they’re interrupted
  • Concentrating on one activity at a time
  • Following directions

ADHD symptoms in kids

Every child is different, but here is a list of common signs and symptoms of ADHD: 

  • Inattention: While it's normal for children to occasionally daydream or lose focus, persistent difficulty staying on task, following instructions, or completing activities may be signs of ADHD.
  • Hyperactivity: Children are naturally energetic, but excessive and uncontrollable hyperactivity that disrupts daily activities, such as constantly fidgeting, running around excessively, or climbing on furniture, could be a sign of ADHD.
  • Impulsivity: Children with ADHD may struggle with impulse control, acting without thinking about the consequences. Look for signs of impulsivity, such as interrupting others, blurting out answers, or engaging in risky behavior without considering the potential dangers.
  • Organization and time management challenges: While forgetfulness and disorganization are common in children, those with ADHD may struggle more significantly. Behaviors may include chronic forgetfulness, losing items frequently, and difficulty completing tasks on time.

How to get support for your child with ADHD

If your family is struggling with how to navigate ADHD, it can be a huge relief to find support from behavioral coaching and social skill management experts. 

A clinical support team can help your child learn the strategies needed to make positive choices when they feel overwhelmed, and foster healthy relationships with themselves and others. 

As a parent, you deserve support too! Mental health practitioners can help you gain better insight into your child’s behavior, teach you how to positively guide them through neurodevelopmental challenges, and join you in advocating for their needs. It can also be a good idea to engage the whole family in care to help everyone better communicate, set consistent routines, and implement strategies to support your child’s development as they grow. 

What separates living with ADHD from simply “being easily distracted” is when a child’s symptoms consistently impede their ability to be successful at school or maintain relationships.

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