Do you wonder if your child has ADHD?

is-it-adhd-photoMore than 5% of children now have a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Parents often look at hyperactive or impulsive behaviors and wonder, “Is this normal or is this ADHD?”  The following charts are made to help parents get a sense of whether their child is exhibiting age appropriate behaviors or if it could be something more.  These charts are not intended to diagnose.  If you have concerns that many of the examples of ADHD describe your child, talk to your doctor or a Psychologist for a formal assessment.  Remember that that symptoms must be present across multiple settings (not just at school or not just at home.)  The person completing the evaluation should be seeking information from sources in multiple settings.


Instances of Normal Activity Instances of Hyperactivity
Having a high energy level Constantly having a high energy level in most settings
Getting wiggly in a seat in school after sitting for several minutes Constant movement and extreme difficulty remaining still in a seat
Fidgeting with items occasionally Constantly playing with items in desk, tapping pencil, or fidgeting with items
Getting up from seat to stretch Frequently finding excuses for getting up out of the seat, such as excessive bathroom breaks, sharpening pencils, etc.
Enjoys climbing on playground equipment Climbs in inappropriate settings, such as in stores, railings, furniture, etc.
Moving some while sitting on the carpet in class Rolling around the carpet or needing twice as much space as everyone else
Chooses to leave parts of projects unfinished for a set amount of time. Gets sidetracked during projects and forgets to come back and finish.
Generally sits through meals, but may get up occasionally. Gets up from the dinner table several times and has difficulty remaining in his seat while he eats.

**Age is another important factor to consider and a normal activity level for a 5 year old is very different than a normal activity level of a 15 year old.

Instances of Typical Inattention Instances of Significant Inattention
Zoning out in activities that are not of interest to the child Zoning out in activities of high interest to the child (sports activities or favorite subjects)
Not paying attention in subjects that are above the level of the student Not paying attention in any or most subjects
Forgetting to complete an assignment occasionally Regularly forgetting to complete assignments
Occasionally losing important items Often losing important items
Having some messes in desks, backpacks, room Constant battle with messes in all areas, even when given organizational structure
Makes careless mistakes sometimes Makes careless mistakes and does not notice that he/she makes careless mistakes
Gets distracted when there is a lot of noise Gets distracted, even when most others are not distracted
Student forgets what to do on a homework assignment Student has regular issues with not knowing what the assignment is or what he/she is supposed to be doing.
Child procrastinates with the bedtime routine. Child needs to be reminded several times to complete each step of the bedtime routine so he/she does not get sidetracked.

**Age is another important factor to consider, expectations of
attention levels will increase as the child ages.

Instances of Typical Impulsivity Instances of Significant Impulsivity
Getting excited and occasionally shouting out an answer Regularly forgetting to raise his hand.
Says things without thinking sometimes. Often blurts out thoughts without thinking it through.
Has trouble waiting his/her turn Has extreme trouble waiting his/her turn
Occasionally speaks out of turn when he/she has something important to say. Frequently interrupts others who are on the phone or are engaged in conversations.
Occasionally makes choices that lack good judgment. Often in trouble for “acting without thinking.”

**Age is another important factor to consider when looking at typical impulsive behavior.

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