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5 Question to Determine if Your Child has ADHD

5 Questions to Ask if You Think Your Child has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Parents often wonder if their child’s behaviors are normal or problematic. After all, children are naturally high energy and don’t often have long attention spans. However, it is important to be able to differentiate between expected behaviors and those that may indicate more serious concerns. This handout will provide a quick and easy way to determine if your child is demonstrating behaviors that may indicate the need for an ADHD diagnosis.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complicated disorder that impacts a wide range of individuals. ADHD begins in childhood, but symptoms often continue into adulthood. Accurately diagnosing ADHD often requires the help of a psychologist. However, knowledge of the signs and symptoms can greatly assist those who believe that they or a loved one has ADHD.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is defined as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning”. Problems usually occur in two or more areas of a person’s life: home, school, work, and social relationships.

ADHD is divided into two different groups of symptoms; inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. There are also three types of ADHD; hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive, or a combination of both.

  1. Is my child inattentive? Children who are inattentive may:
  • Be disorganized
  • Lack focus
  • Have difficulty paying attention to details
  • Have a tendency to make careless mistakes
  • Have work that seems messy or careless
  • Have trouble staying on topic while talking
  • Not listen to others
  • Not follow social rules
  • Be forgetful about daily activities (e.g., appointments or homework)
  • Become easily distracted
  1. Is my child hyperactive or impulsive? Children who are hyperactive/impulsive may:
  • Fidget and squirm when seated
  • Get up frequently to walk/run around
  • Run or climb in inappropriate situations
  • Have difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Be seen as always “on the go”
  • Talk excessively
  • Blurt out answers
  • Have difficulty waiting their turn
  • Often interrupt/intrude on others
  1. Has my child been demonstrating these behaviors for at least 6 months?
  1. Do these behaviors significantly interfere with at least 2 areas (I.e., school, home, relationships, etc) of my child’s life?
  1. Have these behaviors started before my child was 12 years old?

In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms need to be present for at least 6 months and must be significantly interfering with at least 2 areas of a person’s life. Several inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive symptoms must be present before age 12.

If you answered ‘yes’ for the majority of these questions, it may be helpful for you to seek further assistance. A psychologist would be qualified to diagnose your child if it is determined that they meet the criteria for ADHD..

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