Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood

disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include

difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and

hyperactivity (over-activity). Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are the key

behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive or

impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe

and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms

for six or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same

age. Some of the signs of ADHD are present in many kids. Others are rarely present

unless people have disabling ADHD.

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  1. Inattention
  • Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention must persist
  • for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with the
  • developmental level.
  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in
  • schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork,
  • chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to failure to understand instructions)
  • Often have difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained
  • mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments,
  • pencils, books, or tools)
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities


Six or more of the following symptoms must persist

for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with the

developmental level.

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated
  • is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate
  • (in adolescents, this may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
  • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

b) Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment

were present before age 7 years.

c) Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g.,

at school and at home)

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