Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also known as hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder (ADD), is a common condition in children.

Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating, can't seem to follow directions, and are easily bored and/or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive (do not think before they act). Although these behaviors are common in children, they occur more often than usual and are more severe in a child with ADHD. These behaviors interfere with the child's ability to function at school and at home.

What Are the Symptoms of ADHD?

Symptoms of ADHD are generally grouped into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness


  • Is easily distracted
  • Does not follow directions or finish tasks
  • Does not appear to be listening when someone is speaking
  • Does not pay attention and makes careless mistakes
  • Is forgetful about daily activities
  • Has problems organizing daily tasks
  • Avoids or dislikes activities that require sitting still or a sustained effort
  • Often loses things, including personal items
  • Has a tendency to daydream


  • Often squirms, fidgets or bounces when sitting
  • Does not stay seated as expected
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things (In teens and adults, this is more commonly described as a sense of restlessness.)
  • Talks excessively


  • Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
  • Blurts out answers before the question has been completed
  • Often interrupts others

Psychosocial therapies: These are treatment approaches that focus on the behavioral, psychological, social and work/school problems associated with the illness. Psychosocial therapies that may be used for ADHD include:

  • Special education: This is a type of education that is structured to meet the child's unique educational needs. Children with ADHD generally benefit most from a highly structured environment and use of routines.
  • Behavior modification: This includes strategies for supporting good behavior and decreasing problem behavior by the child.
  • Social skills training: This can help the child learn new behaviors, such as taking turns and sharing, that will enable him or her to better function in social situations.

Support groups: Support groups are generally made up of people with similar problems and needs, which can help with acceptance and support. Groups also can provide a forum for learning more about a disorder and the latest approaches to treatment. These groups are helpful for adults with ADHD or parents of children with the disorder.