Warning signs of ADHD: Hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention are the three major signs of ADHD. These symptoms fall under two major groups of behaviors: 1. Inattention and the other group is a combined impulsive and hyperactive group. The first group has nine behaviors and the second group has three impulsive and six hyperactive behaviors. Thus, according to Dr. Wolraich (who published updated ADHD guidelines) a total of 18 core behaviors may indicate that a child has ADHD.

ADHD diagnosis is twice as likely in boys compared to girls because boys show observable hyperactive behaviors

The nine warning signs of inattention in children

  • Don’t pay close attention to details (carelessness) and commit mistakes in school, at home, or in other activities
  • Have trouble focusing on tasks or activities (problem with holding attention)
  • Don’t seem to listen when interacting directly
  • Often fails to follow instructions and doesn’t complete duties, and schoolwork
  • Trouble organizing tasks and activities
  • Don’t do tasks that require mental effort for a long time – dislike doing or avoid tasks altogether
  • Often loses things required for activities and tasks – books, pencils, tools, etc.
  • Get distracted easily
  • Forgetfulness

The nine warning signs ADHD (Impulsivity and hyperactivity)

  • Always on the go – seems as if operated by a motor
  • Don’t take part in leisure activities or play quietly
  • Often moves on, runs, or climbs in situations that are not appropriate
  • Leaves seat in situations that demand being seated
  • Taps hands, feet, fidgets or squirms while in seat
  • Intrudes others or interrupts often in games or conversations
  • Always have trouble waiting for their turn in groups
  • Seems to utter an answer impulsively even before the question completes.
  • Often talks excessively

Parents or teachers are the ones who can notice any functional impairment in any aspect of a child’s life both at home or school – and also in other activities such as sports. Any interference in the functioning can be related to impulsivity, hyperactivity, or inattention. The consequences of a child with disruptive behaviors, impulsivity, and inattention may include conflicts with the parents, and siblings, high stress, and frustration in the family. Children with disruptive behaviors find it difficult to participate in class, in social activities, or in making friends.

Bottom Line

If you think that your child has a few or some of the warning signs of ADHD, then you should consult a pediatric neurologist and get evaluated by the doctor. Based on the age, the number, frequency, and occurrence of symptoms in two or more settings – such as home, school, and social situations, an experienced pediatric neurologist can make a diagnosis.