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ADHD: What to look for

A child with ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is typically described by the following behaviours:

  • Often starts things, but rarely finishes them.

  • Doesn't seem to hear what is being said to him.

  • Is easily distracted and has trouble concentrating or sticking to one activity.

  • Acts before thinking, has trouble organizing play, needs a lot of supervision, calls out in daycare or other groups and has lots of difficulty waiting his turn.

  • Has difficulty keeping still - can't stay in her seat, runs and climbs a lot on things, moves about during sleep and is always "on the go."

  • These behaviours start before age seven.

These behaviours are most suggestive of ADHD when they persist, for example, for at least six months, and are present not only at home, but also at church or daycare, and in recreation programs.

Many of these behaviours could apply to any child, so it's a matter of degree. That's where you need the skill of a qualified physician or psychologist to diagnose whether a child has ADHD.

A proper, thorough assessment is needed to rule out other reasons for the behaviour. Some of these behaviours also indicate a learning disability, language delay, anxiety, depression or other concerns.

To find out more, consult your child's physician, daycare and school personnel or your local chapter of Parents of Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.

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