Signs of ADD/ADHD

If a child frequently displays many of these symptoms, their behavior is age and situation inappropriate, and it is interfering with the child’s ability to be successful in school, encourage that child’s parents and teachers to learn more about ADD/ADHD.

ABILITY TO FOCUS ATTENTION
•Trouble deciding what to pay attention to what’s most important
•Trouble getting started on a task; often feels overwhelmed
•Trouble staying focused on repetitive tasks until the task is complete; can’t do homework independently
• Trouble shifting attention to a new task

HIGHLY DISTRACTABLE
•Distracted by any change in environment; any noise, movement, or smell
•Also distracted by their own thoughts; daydreamer
•Can’t stay focused for long except Nintendo type games or TV or a new or scary activity; may hyper focus on a hobby
•Starts many projects but rarely finishes them

INCONSISTENT PERFORMANCE
•Good days and bad days; some days they can do the schoolwork, other days they can’t

IMPULSIVE
•Can’t wait to be call on; blurts out answers in class
•Extremely impatient; Difficult to wait for his/her turn
•Often acts before thinking; does not seem to learn from mistakes

BEHAVIOR IN THE CLASSROOM
•Overly excitable during group play
•Impulsive behavior
•Impatient
•Severe reactions to failure
•Temper tantrums
•Poor visual motor coordination
•Slow to complete work
•Easily confused by instructions
•Poor time management
•Lots of careless errors; won’t slow down or double-check their work
•Chatterbox; talks excessively; interrupts
•Forgets rules and blurts out answer before question is finished
•Bossy
•Strong sense of justice / fairness
•Does not turn in homework
•Insatiable demands
•Wants to be center of attention
•Very self-centered
•Extraordinarily persistent
•Perpetual hunger for new and novel activities
•Chronically restless
•No tolerance for boredom
•Disturbed sleep patterns (night owl)
•Lots of allergies
•Excessive display of affection
•Fail to anticipate consequences of actions
•Overly gullible; easily led by peers
•Moody
•Never finish what they start; jump from task to task
•Does not appear to listen
•Loves dangerous physical activities

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Either:
• Can’t sit still, feels restless
• Has boundless energy
• Always fidgeting, restless feet, etc.
Or:
• Couch potato, lethargic, slow, space cadet
• Physically there, mentally gone
• No tolerance for boredom
• May start arguments if things are too calm

ODD SLEEP CYCLES
• Night owl, hates to go to bed
• Difficult to wake in the morning
• Maybe a restless sleeper
• Bed wetting or sleepwalking

DISORGANIZED
•Messy room, desk, backpack
•Constantly loses or misplaces things
•Confused by multi-step oral directions
•Does not listen well

TIME MANAGEMENT
• Always rushing; can’t slow down
• Makes careless mistakes, Hates to double-check
• Does not use class time well; feels rushed by
teachers & parents
• Puts things off until the last minute

FREQUENT MOOD SWINGS
• Feels emotions intensely; higher highs and lower lows
• Low tolerance for frustration; may have rage attacks
Other Symptoms
• Chatterbox; talks excessively, interrupts conversations frequently
• Strong sense of justice; bossy
• Terrible penmanship
• Trouble remembering daily routines
• Relatives with ADHD

CAVEATS AND CONCLUSIONS
• All kids do these things some of the time
• It’s the clustering of symptoms, the intensity, and the persistence of symptoms
• ADHD students do not display age appropriate behaviors
• These are normal behaviors taken to the excess
• ADHD students are in a constant state of overwhelm and anxiety
•To them, the world is very unpredictable
• Fight or flight / panic responses

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