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Symptoms of Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) in Children

Updated: Dec 14, 2023


ADHD is a common problem in children and has been a source of controversy for over 50 years. Some experts believe that ADHD is merely a mixture of symptoms used to describe “bratty” children. Other experts contend that it is a medical syndrome. Furthermore, some research studies claim that as high as 10% of all American children show signs of ADHD, while other research studies argue that between 3% and 5% is a more accurate range. These discrepancies exist because diagnosis of ADHD is difficult. No laboratory test or study can scientifically identify ADHD in children. Therefore, parents, teachers and other professionals must make their own diagnoses based upon observations of a child’s behavior over time.

The following is a list of symptoms that may lead to a diagnosis of ADHD. It is important to

realize that ADHD children may not show any one of these symptoms at all times. There also are times when they may seem quiet, depressed or withdrawn. Many “normal” children display some of these symptoms from time to time as they grow and develop. Children who are truly ADHD, though, display many of these symptoms regularly, excessively and to a severe degree over an extended time period.

  • Accidental proneness

  • Aggressiveness

  • Cannot accept discipline

  • Cannot sit still

  • Cannot stay on task

  • Changes activities often

  • Clumsiness

  • Cries easily or often

  • Daydreams

  • Jekyll/Hyde personality

  • Disorganization

  • Does not pay attention

  • Easily bored

  • Feelings easily hurt

  • Fidgets

  • Forgetfulness

  • Immaturity

  • Impulsiveness

  • Low frustration tolerance

  • Low self-esteem

  • Excitability

  • Poor coordination

  • Recklessness

  • Resists showing or receiving affection

  • Runs rather than walks

  • Shows poor judgment

  • Stubbornness

  • Talks constantly

  • Throws temper tantrums

  • Unpredictability

  • Unusual energy

  • Works best under direct supervision

  • Yells out in class

Every situation is difficult with a nonspecific disorder such as ADHD. Some of these children

begin manifesting ADHD in the womb with excessive kicking. Other children may not show

symptoms of ADHD until later in life. What follows is a list of symptoms that may indicate

ADHD at different stages of human development.


  • Colic

  • Irritability

  • Unpredictability

  • Feeding problems

  • Sleeping problems


  • Crankiness

  • Excessive activity

  • Excessive hunger

  • Moodiness

  • Problems getting along with playmates

  • Reckless behaviors

  • Temper tantrums

Elementary School

  • Acting without thinking

  • Not paying attention

  • Easily distracted

  • Performance varying from day to day

  • Problems staying seated

  • Talking out in class


  • Not working up to ability

  • Memory problems

  • Problems concentrating on tasks

  • Restlessness

Young Adult

  • Accident proneness

  • Abusing alcohol or other drugs

  • Relationship problems

  • Susceptibility to unemployment or underemployment *

*Adapted from our book, ADHD Children & Adolescents

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