Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, once called hyperkinesis, is a behavioral disorder that usually expresses itself in early childhood. Early diagnosis is important because intervention tends to be more effective if it is begun before adolescence.
The behaviors that indicate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can vary from person to person. The most common characteristics are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior.
Inattention is characterized by difficulty focusing on a specific task, particularly if it is not a task the child is interested in. The parent may notice their child has difficulty learning new things because they can't pay close enough attention to the task at hand. They may notice that the child has no problem paying attention to a video game they love, but when it comes to finishing a school project, it's like pulling teeth.
Some of the ways a parent or teacher might describe this behavior: the child's mind drifts; the teen seems to be all over the place, never focusing for more than a few moments; the student doesn't finish anything, and when he or she does, there are many mistakes; the child is easily bored.
Hyperactivity is characterized by seemingly endless activity. The child cannot sit still and seems compelled to talk, often a mile a minute. The child is restless and may seem anxious.
Some of the ways a parent or teacher might describe this behavior: the child is constantly moving; the teen can't sit still for five minutes; the student taps his feet, squirms in his seat, and talks in class even after being asked to keep quiet; the teenager is like a ball of endless energy, moving, talking, and bouncing from one activity to the next.
Impulsivity is characterized by thoughtless or inappropriate actions or reactions. They act without thinking about the consequences, and the sudden action can seem to come out of nowhere. This behavior can be risky, as when a child suddenly runs into a street without looking.
Some of the ways a parent or teacher might describe this behavior: the child just blurts out anything at any time; the teen just pulls out of the driveway without looking both ways; the student grabs something without asking first; the student never waits his turn.
These behaviors in and of themselves do not necessarily indicate ADHD. With attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the student will show one or more than one of these behaviors persistently over time and they will be very obvious to parents and teachers. The behaviors will interfere with social relationships and academic performance.
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ADHD and ADD Resources Information and Links to help parents work with their kids and teens
Molly Shriver-Blake, MSW, base camp program manager at Talisman Camps in North Carolina says, in most cases, no.
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