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  • ADHD: What to look for

  • A child must have six of the symptoms of inattention or six of those on the hyperactivity- impulsivity list to be diagnosed with ADHD.

    • Ignores details; makes careless mistakes.
    • Has difficulty staying focused on tasks and activities.
    • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
    • Does not follow through on instructions; fails to finish projects.
    • Loses things needed for activities (homework, sports equipment).
    • Avoids activities that require a sustained mental effort.
    • Is forgetful in daily activities.
    • Is easily distracted by extraneous noise.
    • Has difficulty organizing tasks.

    • Fidgets or squirms.
    • Frequently leaves seat in the classroom or the dinner table.
    • Runs or climbs excessively in inappropriate situations.
    • Has difficulty playing quietly.
    • Often "on the go," as if driven by a motor.
    • Talks excessively.
    • Blurts out an answer before the question is finished.
    • Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn.
    • Interrupts or intrudes on others.

    After reading these lists, many people could say: "Wait a minute, I'm like that." or "My child often acts that way." In fact, everyone exhibits these traits at one time or another. For a true diagnosis other criteria must be present. For example, the child must display these symptoms in two or more settings, must show significant impairment at school, at home or with other people, and certain other mental disorders must be ruled out.