The symptoms of ADHD in children are generally focused around three broader indicators; these include lack of attention to the task at hand, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and is similar to ADD, which is simply attention deficit disorder. The restless behavior and inability to sit still is primarily what separates ADHD from ADD, and is important behavior to note if discussing these issues with a doctor. In general, most children will show these symptoms before age seven, but some do not show the symptoms until later.
Recognizing the symptoms of ADHD in children early in life is important, because it allows the child to receive the help he or she needs to succeed in school, and to do well in work and family situations down the road. ADHD that is not managed will almost certainly cause issues both in school and at work, and may make achieving good grades difficult because of a lack of focus. A lack of ability to focus on the task at hand, or the seeming inability to concentrate and listen to directions, is one of the most common symptoms of ADHD in children.
Restlessness and hyperactivity are also common symptoms of ADHD in children. This may present as an inability for the child to sit quietly in his or her seat; he may constantly be jumping up to run around the room, or appear fidgety and distracted. Children with ADHD may also talk more than other children, and may impulsively yell out the answers to questions, for example, or frequently interrupt other people while they are speaking. In addition, children with ADHD may easily be distracted from a task, and may forget what they were doing, leading to incomplete work, or even frequently forgetting to bring things to and from school with them.
The symptoms of ADHD in children may worsen over time, and in older kids may lead to a feeling of depression and inability to connect with peers or complete assignments as requested. Some children may only display a few of these symptoms, since there are varying degrees of both ADD and ADHD; some kids are more hyperactive, for example, but don't have as much trouble paying attention, while other children might have more trouble concentrating, but less hyperactivity. A child psychologist can help to determine what these different symptoms mean, and what can be done to manage them to help the child succeed in school.