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Recognizing ADHD Red Flags in Your Child

Updated: May 8

Parents sitting on floor while children run and play around them
It is important to understand ADHD red flag signs among your children

As parents, we're always on the lookout for signs that our children are developing as they should. We celebrate their first words, their first steps, and their growing independence. However, sometimes we notice things that make us pause and wonder if everything is progressing as it should. This is especially true when it comes to the complex landscape of developmental milestones and potential red flags for conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Understanding Developmental Milestones

A young boy in a gathering speaks to another young boy
Understanding developmental milestones can help you identify signs of ADHD in your child

Children typically reach developmental milestones at various ages, but it's essential to remember that every child is unique, and there's a broad range of "normal." These milestones encompass physical, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of development.

Language Development

a young boy shows something he has found to a young girl
Having an understanding of language development in children can help you identify ADHD symptoms

Babies typically start babbling around 6 to 9 months, saying their first words around 12 months, and forming simple sentences by 24 months.

Red Flag: Delays in language development might include limited vocabulary, difficulty following directions, or struggling to express thoughts or needs.

Motor Skills

a toddler uses her hands to stand herself up
Delays in motor skills development can be a sign of ADHD

Gross motor skills involve large muscle movements, such as crawling, walking, and jumping. Fine motor skills involve smaller movements, like picking up objects, holding utensils, and drawing.

Red Flag: Persistent difficulties with coordination, clumsiness, or delays in achieving motor milestones may be cause for concern.

Social Interaction

a young boy leads forward resting his chin on both hands, lost in thought
Difficulties with social interaction is a symptom of ADHD

Children begin to show interest in others and engage in social play around 12 to 18 months. They gradually learn to take turns, share toys, and understand social cues.

Red Flag: Trouble making friends, difficulty understanding social norms, or persistent conflicts with peers could indicate social challenges.

Cognitive Skills

a young boy works on a project in school
ADHD can impact cognitive skills

Cognitive development involves thinking, learning, and problem-solving abilities. Children start to explore their surroundings, imitate actions, and solve simple problems as they grow.

Red Flag: Persistent difficulty focusing, following instructions, or completing tasks appropriate for their age may suggest cognitive challenges.

Recognizing Red Flags for ADHD

While occasional forgetfulness or impulsivity is typical in children, persistent patterns of behavior that disrupt daily life might signal ADHD. Here are some red flags to watch out for:


- Difficulty sustaining attention, especially in tasks that require concentration.

- Frequently losing belongings or becoming easily distracted.

Example: Sarah struggles to finish her homework because she's easily sidetracked by the smallest noises or movements around her.


- Constant fidgeting, squirming, or tapping hands or feet.

- Difficulty staying seated, even when it's expected.

Example: Jack can't sit still during dinner, constantly getting up from his chair to roam around the table or play with his toys.


- Acting without considering consequences, blurting out answers, or interrupting conversations.

- Difficulty waiting for their turn in games or conversations.

Example: During a classroom discussion, Alex frequently interrupts his teacher and classmates, eager to share his thoughts without waiting for his turn.

Executive Functioning Challenges:

- Trouble organizing tasks, managing time, or completing assignments.

- Forgetfulness or losing track of important items regularly.

Example: Emily struggles to remember deadlines for her school projects and often forgets to bring necessary materials to class.

ADHD Testing

If you suspect your child might have ADHD, the first recommended step is consulting with your pediatrician. If your pediatrician sees cause for concern, they will likely recommend testing. Lifecare Wellness Counseling offers ADHD testing in Tuscaloosa. Their expert therapists use the most widely respected tools to assess and diagnose children, teens, and adults.

Early identification and intervention can significantly impact a child's long-term well-being and success. If you notice persistent challenges that interfere with your child's daily life, don't hesitate to consult with healthcare professionals for guidance and support. By working together, we can ensure every child receives the care and resources they need to thrive.

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