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Understanding ADHD Symptoms in Children: A Guide for Families

Updated: May 8

A young boy with his head down on the table in the middle of a school work
ADHD affects 13% of children in Alabama

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects 13% of children in Alabama. It can present significant challenges in various aspects of a child's life, including their academic performance, social interactions, and family relationships. Understanding the key symptoms and behaviors associated with ADHD is crucial for families to provide appropriate support and intervention for their children. 

Key Symptoms of ADHD:

1. Inattention: Children with ADHD often struggle to maintain focus and attention, particularly on tasks that require sustained mental effort. They may frequently lose things, have difficulty organizing tasks and activities, and appear forgetful or easily distracted.

A young girl looking away during therapy
Completing assignments, concentration, and staying organized can be difficult with ADHD

 Example: Sarah, a 9-year-old with ADHD, finds it challenging to complete her homework assignments. She frequently forgets to bring home the necessary materials and struggles to concentrate on her tasks, often getting sidetracked by unrelated thoughts or distractions.


2. Hyperactivity: Hyperactivity is characterized by excessive physical movement and restlessness. Children with ADHD may have difficulty sitting still, constantly fidgeting or squirming, and engaging in activities as if driven by a motor.

Young boy with head on table being consoled by teacher
Acting with out considering the consequences is a common ADHD symptom

 Example: At the dinner table, James, a 7-year-old with ADHD, finds it hard to remain seated. He frequently gets up from his chair, walks around the table, and taps his feet on the floor, unable to stay still even for a short period.


3. Impulsivity: Impulsivity refers to acting without considering the consequences. Children with ADHD may blurt out answers before questions are fully asked, have difficulty waiting their turn, interrupt others frequently, and engage in risky behaviors without thinking.

A young girl balances a pencil on her upper lip
Students with ADHD find it difficult to wait their turn or disrupt a lesson

Example: During a classroom discussion, Emily, a 10-year-old with ADHD, often interrupts her classmates and the teacher. She blurts out answers without raising her hand and struggles to wait for her turn to speak, disrupting the flow of the conversation.

ADHD in Different Settings

1. Home: In a home environment, ADHD symptoms may manifest during daily routines such as homework time, mealtimes, and bedtime. Children may struggle with following instructions, completing chores, and maintaining orderliness in their belongings.

A young boy with his arms folded in front of him, appearing unwilling to take direction from an adult
Not being able to wait until it's their turn can be a symptom of ADHD

 Example: During family gatherings, Tom, a 6-year-old with ADHD, finds it challenging to participate in games that require waiting for his turn. He becomes frustrated easily and may resort to disruptive behaviors to alleviate his impatience.

2. School: In the school setting, ADHD symptoms can impact academic performance, social interactions, and behavior in the classroom. Children may have difficulty staying on task, following classroom rules, and forming friendships with peers.

Young girl yawning while doing school work
Children with ADHD often daydream and struggle to pay attention

 Example: In the classroom, Lily, an 8-year-old with ADHD, frequently forgets to bring her completed assignments to school. She struggles to focus during lessons, often doodling or daydreaming instead of paying attention to the teacher.

3. Social Situations: ADHD can affect a child's ability to navigate social situations and form meaningful relationships with peers. Impulsivity and hyperactivity may lead to social awkwardness, conflicts with others, and difficulties in understanding social cues.


a young boy pensively looks away as he leans his chin on a desk while working on a puzzle
Sharing and waiting your turn can be challenging

 Example: During play dates, Alex, a 5-year-old with ADHD, struggles to share toys and take turns with his friends. He may become frustrated easily and resort to aggressive behaviors when things don't go his way, leading to conflicts with his playmates.

If you are concerned that your child might have ADHD, consult with your pediatrician. After ruling out other potential causes, they will likely provide a referral for further testing. Lifecare Wellness Counseling performs ADHD testing in Tuscaloosa, using the latest diagnostics. Their therapists are expert at identifying ADHD markers in children, teens, and adults.

Understanding the symptoms and behaviors associated with ADHD is essential for families to provide effective support and intervention for their children. Seeking professional guidance from healthcare providers and educators can also play a crucial role in developing tailored interventions to address the specific needs of children with ADHD. With patience, understanding, and appropriate support, children with ADHD can overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

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