ADHD Symptoms in Children

Symptoms That Suggest ADHD

Use this checklist of ADHD symptoms in children to determine whether your child meets the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.

A woman reads a Child ADHD Screening Test on her laptop

Your child will not receive a formal attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) diagnosis just because he is distractible or restless.

He or she must meet the criteria for ADHD symptoms in children outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In addition to specifying ADHD symptoms, the criteria specify where and how often they’re exhibited and the extent to which they interfere with daily life.

Your child might have ADHD if he or she:

  • has trouble paying attention
  • makes careless mistakes
  • seems not to listen when spoken to directly
  • has trouble following instructions and finishing tasks
  • has trouble planning and organizing work or activities
  • avoids certain tasks or does them grudgingly, especially those requiring sustained mental effort
  • loses things necessary for tasks or activities, such as toys, homework assignments, pencils, books, and so on
  • becomes easily distracted
  • forgets things
  • squirms in chair or fidgets
  • gets up, runs around, or climbs during class or in other situations where one should stay seated
  • is often “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • talks too much and blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • can’t wait his turn
  • interrupts or intrudes on others’ conversations or games

[Self-Test: Could Your Child Have ADHD?]

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