Back to Home Skip Navigation LinksHome Knowledge Center ADHD: Reading the Symptoms Properly
Back to Knowledge Center Results

ADHD: Reading the Symptoms Properly

Symptoms of ADHD typically become apparent when the child enters into a more structured educational setting. When task demands become more challenging, symptoms can arise as early as preschool or kindergarten and most symptoms occur before the age of 13.

What symptoms should parents look for?

The first sign is often hyperactivity. Children exhibiting hyperactive and impulsive subtypes of ADHD will often begin to exhibit the following symptoms as early as the preschool years:

  • Difficulties waiting their turn during play activities, while waiting in a line, or during conversations
  • Often doing the first thing that comes into his or her head
  • Frequent interruptions
  • Excessive movement and excessive talking

For individuals with the inattentive type of ADHD, symptoms often become more apparent in middle to late childhood when the expectations to work independently and maintain organization become more challenging.  These symptoms may include:

  • Difficulties resisting distractions
  • Having a hard time with following through on tasks independently
  • Frequently losing school assignments and other belongings

What common mistakes do parents make when reading the symptoms?

Children with ADHD often struggle to manage their emotions because they exhibit difficulties stopping an immediate emotional reaction to an event.  As a result, parents and other caretakers may mistake anger outbursts or excessive emotional reactions for depression or they may believe that the child is simply being stubborn. It is important to remember that children with ADHD may need assistance in learning to deal with their emotions.  

Because many children with ADHD are impulsive and therefore act without thinking, parents and other providers often find themselves using high rates of punishment to address misbehaviors. This is often ineffective as punishment alone may only work for a short period of time. Therefore, it is important for caretakers to use proactive strategies to address behavior including:

  • Frequent reminders of the rules and expectations
  • Frequent praise and acknowledgement for acceptable and desirable behaviors

When does your child need help?

If you are noticing that your child is exhibiting any of the above symptoms and these symptoms are interfering with their academic development, friendships, or family functioning, schedule an appointment with your child's pediatrician. If the pediatrician suspects that your child may have symptoms of ADHD, it is helpful to obtain a referral to a psychologist so the child may receive a thorough assessment prior to initiating any treatment.

 
  • ADHD: Reading the Symptoms Properly

    Symptoms of ADHD typically arise or become apparent when the child enters into a more structured educational setting.  The first sign is often times hyperactivity.  That is particularly true for children showing more of the hyperactive and impulsive subtypes.  So they are just going to show a lot of behavior.  They simply behave too much.  A lot of verbal and motor behavior and that's noted in the child's difficulties with stopping and thinking with waiting their turn. Interrupting.

    For individuals with the inattentive type of ADHD that is not associated with impulsivity, then we are going to see those symptoms become apparent later in middle to late childhood.  They are going to struggle with resisting distractions. They are going to have a hard time with following through on tasks independently, remembering to follow through on tasks without reminders. 

    At what age can you start to detect these behaviors?

    So for children who are showing more hyperactive and impulsive behavior, then I would expect those symptoms to arise earlier in early childhood probably just as soon as they start to enter into a more structured educational setting.  When those task demands become more challenging, they can arise as early as preschool or kindergarten.  So specifically for that inattentive subtype of ADHD sometimes the impairment doesn't show up until later when expectations to work independently, follow through on assignments, remember, and to be organized become more difficult.

    What common mistakes do parents make when reading the symptoms?

    I think one of the common mistakes that all of us make is we kind of blame the child.  We make the child wrong because the behavior is very frustrating for us.  And so we are using a lot of correction s and a lot of punishment.  We're talking to them a lot about their behavior and really when you are dealing with behavior in general but specifically with kids with ADHD talking to them is probably going to worsen their behavior and using high rates of punishment and corrections is probably just going to cause more frustration.   So the best thing to be doing to start off with, your foundation is really catch your child being good or praise and interactions.​

Behavioral Health;Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics

 

 

Spit-Up Concernshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/knowledge-center/spit-up-concernsSpit-Up ConcernsPediatric GastroenterologyNewborn
Smashed Fingerhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/knowledge-center/smashed-fingerSmashed FingerPediatricsInjury
Using Hearing Assistive Technologies in the Classroom: Why, When and How?https://www.boystownpediatrics.org/knowledge-center/using-hearing-assistive-technologies-classroomUsing Hearing Assistive Technologies in the Classroom: Why, When and How?Hearing and BalanceHearing Devices