What Are the Symptoms of ADHD in a Child?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that occurs in children which causes them to have learning problems in school and in all types of social settings. In addition to hyperactivity, being inattentive, and acting impulsively, WebMD offers the following as behaviors children with ADHD commonly exhibit:

  • Always squirming and fidgety
  • Constantly in motion
  • Difficulty playing quietly
  • Excessive talking
  • Not paying attention
  • Failure to finish tasks
  • Easily distracted
  • Interrupting others

Diagnosing ADHD can be difficult. The symptoms are similar to those of other types of other conditions. In addition, there are three types of ADHD, and the symptoms of each vary from child to child. Generally, some children are hyperactive-impulsive, while others may be inattentive. The third type of ADHD is a combination of both of these types.

Although young children are normally active and have a seemingly endless supply of energy, those with ADHD stand out for their “over-the-top” activity. Those who are hyperactive are often diagnosed once they begin school and are found to be unable to sit still in class. John Cardinal O’Connor is a special school for ADHD in Irvington which is uniquely prepared to address the special needs of children with all types of ADHD.

Although the symptoms of ADHD vary, there are some common signs that may signal a child has the condition. It is also important to note that these symptoms may be present in children who do not have the condition.

Lack of Empathy

Children with ADHD often fail to recognize the needs or desires of others. They interrupt conversations without concern for the other individuals and have difficult waiting for their turn at activities.

Emotional Outbursts

The child may have outbursts of emotion, including temper tantrums when they become angry. They can also have difficulty controlling good emotions or the excitement they feel about doing activities they enjoy.

Inability to Sit Still

Children with ADHD who are hyperactive literally can’t sit still in a chair, even for a few minutes. Teachers often encounter this with children who find repeated excuses for getting up and walking around the room, and who continue to squirm when they are made to sit.

Failure to Finish Tasks

ADHD is often recognized by teachers when students fail to complete homework assignments as well as tasks they are assigned in class. The teachers in schools for children with ADHD have the skills needed to address ADHD symptoms and help children stay on task.

Inability to Focus

Even when teachers take the time to speak directly to the child with ADHD, they are often still unable to pay attention. A child who doesn’t know what instructions were given to them will never be able to complete any task without the appropriate guidance.


Children who do not exhibit hyperactivity may be more subdued. They often seem to be in another world and unaware of what is going on around them.

Prone to Making Mistakes

Inability to pay attention and understand what is expected of them can easily lead to their making careless mistakes.

Although children who exhibit any of these signs may have ADHD, they should be evaluated to rule other conditions out. Also, diagnosis opens the door toward medical treatment and the right educational choices to help children become more successful in school. If you or a teacher has concerns that your child has symptoms of ADHD, have him or her evaluated by your physician. Once the condition is diagnosed, it will be easier to decide what the next step should be.


John Cardinal O’Connor School Offers:

  • Flexible Seating options
  • Frequent breaks
  • Snack-time each day for all students
  • Sensory input fidgets in all classrooms
  • Standing desks (if appropriate)
  • Inflatable sensory chair cushions
  • Departmentalized classroom settings

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