ADHD Symptoms

Learn about the different symptoms of ADHD

This list is an overview of what ADHD symptoms in children may look like. It is not meant to be used for diagnosis. Only a trained doctor can provide a diagnosis.

  • Symptoms of Inattention

  • Often makes careless mistakes and lacks attention to details (Examples: overlooking or missing details or handing in work that’s inaccurate)
  • Often has difficulty paying attention to tasks or while playing (Examples: difficulty remaining focused during class, conversations, or lengthy readings)
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (Example: mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of obvious distraction)
  • Often fails to follow through on instructions, schoolwork, or chores (Example: starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked)
  • Often has difficulty organzing tasks and activities (Examples: messy, disorganized work; poor time management)
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to participate in tasks requiring sustained mental effort, like schoolwork or homework
  • Often loses things like school materials, pencils, or books
  • Often easily distracted
  • Often forgetful in daily activities such as chores
  • Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands and feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat when remaining seated is expected (Examples: leaves their place in the classroom, or in other situations that require remaining seated)
  • Often runs or climbs where it is inappropriate
  • Often unable to play quietly
  • Often acts as if "on the go" or “driven by a motor” (Examples: is unable or uncomfortable being still for an extended time, as in restaurants)
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been fully asked (Examples: completes people’s sentences, cannot wait for next turn in conversation)
  • Often has difficulty waiting his or her turn; for example, while waiting in line
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (Examples: butts into conversations, games, or activities; may start using other people’s things without asking or receiving permission)

This list is an overview of what ADHD symptoms may look like in kids. It is not a diagnostic tool. Only a trained doctor or other health care professional can diagnose ADHD.

What does ADHD look like in kids, teens, and adults?

Learn more   

Helpful information to bring to your child’s appointment

Complete an ADHD Symptom Checklist for your child   

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