Signs and Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

A child may have AD/HD if he/she often shows six symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity or both before age 12 in at least two settings:


  • Fails to pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention during activities or tasks
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Does not follow through on instruction and fails to finish tasks (not due to problems understanding or oppositional behavior)
  • Has difficulty organizing tasks
  • Avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustaining mental effort
  • Loses things
  • Is forgetful


  • Fidgets or squirms
  • Gets out of a seat when staying seated is expected
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Runs or climbs excessively when staying seated is expected
  • Is “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out answers before other person is finished talking
  • Has difficulty waiting in line
  • Interrupts or intrudes (butts into conversations or games)

In teens/adults AD/HD impairments may lead to:

  • Spending more time than would be expected to complete tasks
  • Academic difficulties
  • Driving or speeding problems
  • Unplanned pregnancies
  • Overuse of caffeine, nicotine or other substances
  • Accidents or injuries
  • Employment problems
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Legal difficulties

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