Signs of ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Looking for the most common signs of ADHD? Use the free checklist, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and signs, such as fidgety behavior, excessive talking, and being easily distracted.

The definition of ADHD is essentially a condition that affects an individual’s ability to focus, sit still and control bad behavior. However, there are so many other things that may cause similar symptoms. Therefore, causes may vary depending on the exact signs that are being displayed and whether it's possible that there is actually a different underlying condition causing the symptoms.

Most treatments include stimulant medication, but new medications for ADHD are continuously being made including those that are considered non-stimulant. Because many parents are against medications, there are also more natural options, such as the Feingold diet, which has shown to have favorable results as well.

Below is a list of symptoms that are used to diagnose a child with the disorder.

DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria

You can determine whether further evaluation for your child is required by downloading the signs of ADHD checklist based on the DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria listed below(1).

I. Either A or B:

A. Six or more of the following signs of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:


  1. Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  2. Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  4. Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  5. Often has trouble organizing activities.
  6. Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  7. Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  8. Is often easily distracted.
  9. Is often forgetful in daily activities.

B. Six or more of the following signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:


  1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  2. Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
  3. Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
  4. Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
  5. Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor".
  6. Often talks excessively.


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

II. Some signs of ADHD that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.
III. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. at school/work and at home).
IV. There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school, or work functioning.
V. The ADHD symptoms do not happen only during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder. The symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).

Every child may display different signs of ADHD with some being more impulsive and others more hyperactive. As a result, the treatments necessary may vary for each child depending on their own unique ADHD signs.

I think what is most important is that a parent doesn't feel pressured to do something they are uncomfortable with simply because a school or other individual is urging it to happen. There are many treatment options for signs of ADHD available that do not involve stimulant medications. Be sure to check these out by clicking the link above.

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1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (Fourth edition---text revision (DSM-IV-TR). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 85-93.