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How Can You Tell if Your Child Has ADHD?

Updated on July 12, 2008

Does your child have trouble paying attention? Is your child hyper? Does your child have trouble making friends or doing school work? Your child might have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD for short. According to Wikipedia ADHD is neurobehavioral developmental disorder characterized by inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, poor impulse control and distractibility. ADHD typically appears in childhood.

Does this sound like your child? It can be hard to diagnose ADHD, especially in young children. Many of the symptoms are normal behavior for young children. Usually once a child hits school age and is expected to sit at a desk for several hours it becomes pretty obvious the kids that can't control themselves. So how do you determine if your child has ADHD? How do you know when to get an evaluation? Here are some guidelines out of the book Taking Charge of ADHD The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents by Russell A. Barkley, PhD.

As stated on page 133-134 of this book your child needs to have 6 or more of the following symptoms of either inattention or hyperactivity or both. These symptoms need to have persisted for more than 6 months to a degree that is inconsistent with normal developmental levels for that age.


  1. fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  2. has difficulty sustaining attention in work or play
  3. doesn't seem to listen when spoken to
  4. does not follow through on instructions and doesn't finish works or chores
  5. has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  6. avoids and/or dislikes tasks that require lots of mental effort
  7. often loses things necessary for work or play activities
  8. easily distracted by external stimuli
  9. forgetful in daily activities


  1. fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  2. leaves seat when remaining in seat is expected
  3. runs about or climbs in situation that it is inappropriate to do so
  4. difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  5. is constantly on the go
  6. talks excessively
  7. blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  8. difficulty waiting their turn
  9. interrupts or intrudes on others

There are other guidelines that a specialist will look at as well, but these lists will give you a pretty good idea of whether your child needs to be evaluated or not. If your child seems much busier than other children, has trouble remembering things or paying attention when other children don't have trouble doing it, or constantly fidgets or moves around then it might be worth looking into ADHD more.

ADHD is something that many people deal with for a lifetime. Learning to deal with it at an early age will definitely help. There are many ways to deal with ADHD including behavior changes, life style changing, diet changes, counseling and/or medication. The earlier you can get help for ADHD the better. Use the information in this hub to help you determine whether your child needs to be evaluated for ADHD.


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    • profile image

      jhonny detpth 

      4 years ago

      good question

    • profile image

      Michael Ruskow 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the good info. I think that some kids are being overdiagnosed with ADHD now. What do you think? Michael Ruskow

    • proudgrandpa profile image


      10 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I am of the volition that what absolutely drives us up the wall about our kids will, if channeled, be their most valuable atributes as they grow up. I recognize it is difficult to tell the difference between energy and hyperactivity. I looked back at my 4th grade report cards and the teacher said "NEIL looks out the window alot and is always fidgity". My wonderful MOM helped me channel that into being constructive. We didn't have the term ADHD so I guess I didn't have it :-)

      I am an adult with full blown ADHD and I have had to work very hard to function, especially in the business world. I have mined this affliction for the positives. I use systems to overcome my simultanious interests and strive to use the EXTRA MIND ENERGY to accomplish what I commit to and the rest is icying on the cake of life. I now consider my core values to be Energy and Enthusiasm. Now that is either denial or adapting. Thanks for a great hub. NEIL


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