Our specialists at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital are experts at early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, which is important for the best possible outcome. Having a University of Minnesota Health medical team with you for regular monitoring of your child’s progress over time can help ensure a successful transition to a productive and happy adulthood.
Symptoms of ADHD often appear between the ages of three and six. Symptoms can vary greatly from child to child. Your child may show symptoms from one, two or three of the following categories:
- Attention deficit – difficulty focusing on one thing, following instructions, completing assignments or learning something new; losing things; becoming easily bored; daydreaming; seeming not to listen when spoken to
- Hyperactivity – fidgeting; talking and/or moving constantly; touching or playing with everything; having difficulty doing quiet activities and sitting still when the situation calls for it
- Impulsivity – showing impatience; blurting out inappropriate comments; showing emotion inappropriately; interrupting conversations and activities
It is normal for children and teens to exhibit a certain amount of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, and sometimes people think impulsive or hyperactive children are simply misbehaving, so it can be difficult to determine whether your child is exhibiting symptoms of ADHD. If your child or teen is adjusting well at home but has trouble in school, or vice versa, the behavior you’re noticing may not be related to ADHD. But if your child has more difficulty than other children, regardless of the environment, and the problem behaviors have lasted six or more months, it may be wise to have a medical evaluation for ADHD.
There is no single definitive test to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD. Depending on your child’s age, your child’s physician may perform tests to rule out other conditions, such as learning disorders, anxiety or sleep apnea. Your child’s physician will also rely on information supplied by you and others who spend time with your child, including teachers, other family members and caregivers.