Understanding ADHD

Symptoms at Different Ages

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People of different ages can show the core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in different ways. See some examples below.

Examples of ADHD symptoms by age.

Children (6-12 Years)

  • Easily distracted
  • Has trouble organizing homework; homework contains careless mistakes and often is not completed
  • Blurts out answers in class before the question is completed
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Fails to complete chores at home
  • Has difficulty awaiting turn in games
  • Has trouble staying seated

Teenagers (13-17 Years)

  • Displays inner restlessness
  • Has trouble organizing schoolwork; shows poor follow-through
  • Hyperactivity may become less visible


  • Inattention/concentration problems
  • Has trouble with organization and does not plan ahead
  • Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort; has difficulty initiating and completing projects
  • Often unable to follow through on tasks; shifts activities prematurely
  • Misjudges available time
  • Forgetful; often loses things
  • Makes impulsive decisions

Having some of these symptoms of adhd does not necessarily mean a student has adhd. Only a health care professional can accurately diagnose ADHD.