Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Does your child have trouble paying attention? Does he or she talk nonstop or have trouble staying still? Does your child have a hard time controlling his or her behavior? For some children, these may be symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

What is attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder?

ADHD is a common childhood disorder. It makes it hard for a child to focus and pay attention. Some kids may be hyperactive or have trouble being patient. ADHD can make it hard for a child to do well in school or behave at home.

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Who can develop ADHD?

Children of all backgrounds can have ADHD. Teens and adults can have ADHD too.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD has many symptoms. Some symptoms at first may look like normal behaviors for a child, but ADHD makes them much worse and occur more often. Children with ADHD have at least six symptoms that start in the first five or six years of their lives.

Children with ADHD may:

  • Get distracted easily and forget things often
  • Switch too quickly from one activity to the next
  • Have trouble with directions
  • Daydream too much
  • Have trouble finishing tasks like homework or chores
  • Lose toys, books, and school supplies often
  • Fidget and squirm a lot
  • Talk nonstop and interrupt people
  • Run around a lot
  • Touch and play with everything they see
  • Be very impatient
  • Fidget and squirm a lot
  • Blurt out inappropriate comments

How do I know if my child has ADHD?

It can take a very thorough evaluation with a doctor or specialist to know if your child has ADHD. He or she may need time to watch your child and check for other problems. The specialist will want to talk to you, your family, your child's teachers, and others.

Sometimes it can be hard to diagnose a child with ADHD because symptoms may look like other problems. For example, a child may seem quiet and well-behaved, but in fact he or she is having a hard time paying attention and is often distracted. Or, a child may act badly in school, but teachers don't realize that the child has ADHD.

If your child is having trouble at school or at home and has been for a long time, ask his or her doctor about ADHD. 

More ADHD resources