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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is defined as a pattern of behaviors in which a child shows, usually before the age of 7, developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. It is the most common mental health problem of childhood. The behavior of children with ADHD often results in serious disturbances in their relationships with parents, teachers, peers, and siblings, as well as academic problems.

Symptoms of Inattention:

• Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes

• Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

• Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

• Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish tasks (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)

• Avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort

• Has diffiiculties with organizing; loses things necessary for tasks or activities

• Is easily distracted

• Is forgetful in daily activities

Symptoms of Hyperactivity:

• Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

• Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected

• Runs or climbs excessively when it is inappropriate

• Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly

• Is always “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”

• Often talks excessively

Symptoms of Impulsivity:

• Blurts out answers before questions have been completed

• Has difficulty awaiting turn

• Interrupts or intrudes on others

To receive a diagnosis of ADHD, a person must:

• Have six or more symptoms of either inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity

• Have symptoms that have persisted for at least six months and must be present to a degree that creates problems and is inconsistent with the person's developmental level

• At least some symptoms that caused impairment were present before the age of seven

• Some symptoms be present in at least two different settings and there must be clinically significant impairment in social or academic functioning at home or school


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