One of the most common questions that parents and teachers ask me is, “What are the symptoms of ADHD?”

This is a very important question. Parents want to understand if their child has a real learning disability or not.

They are also concerned about their child being ADD/ADHD because it also brings up the discussion of treatment and whether or not their child needs to be medicated. More and more studies are coming out on the side effects of ADHD/ADD and parents are concerned. Medication should be avoided at all costs!

Early Symptoms of ADHD

Often, a child starts showing signs and symptoms of ADHD in the elementary school years when the symptoms are adversely affecting performance at school. Most medical/health professionals agree that it is difficult to diagnose children younger than 4 or 5 years old because typical behavior at this age is much more varying than that of older children and may often include features that are similar to ADHD symptoms.


According to the DSM-IV (which is a guide for mental health professionals that lists many different mental/physical disorders and the criteria for diagnosing them) the key feature of ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive behavior that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable stage of development.

There must also be clear evidence that the symptoms of ADHD interfere with the development of appropriate social, academic, or occupational functioning. According to professional diagnosis standards, hyperactive behavior may be demonstrated by fidgeting or "squirming" in one's seat, by not remaining seated when expected to do so, by excessive running or climbing when in situations where it is considered to be inappropriate.

Pre-school aged children may display this type of behavior to a much more marked degree when compared with same-age peers. At this age, the hyperactive child is constantly on the go, gets into everything, jumping and climbing excessively.

School-aged children may show hyperactivity in the form of having trouble remaining seated, getting up frequently, fidgeting with objects, tapping their hands, squirming in their seats, and shaking their hands, legs, or feet.

Impulsive Behavior will often appear as impatience, difficulty in delaying responses, a child who blurts out an answer in class before the teacher can even complete the question.

Other symptoms of ADHD include not being able to wait one's turn and, frequently interrupting or intruding on others objects away from other kids, and handing things they are not supposed to. The DSM-IV-TR provides mental health professionals with a list of general behaviors that are exhibited by those with ADHD and hyperactivity.

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity are noted together below, with children needing to display at six of the behaviors listed below and persisting for at least a period of 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level.

Due to the medical nature of ADHD, only health professionals are qualified to determine if the behavior the child is exhibiting meets the following qualifications for ADHD as an official diagnosis:

--Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
--Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
--Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate
--Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
--Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor".
--Often talks excessively.

ADHD Symptoms of Impulsivity include:

--Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
--Often has trouble waiting one's turn.
--Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).

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For more information on helping your child with ADHD succeed without using harmful medication, visit ADHD Your child’s ADHD can be treated naturally!