Does my child have ADHD?

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can affect anyone, at any age. A person with ADHD may appear hyperactive or find it hard to concentrate.

There are some common behaviours linked to the condition. Knowing what these are can help you decide if your child may need extra support. ADHD is often diagnosed between the ages of six and 12 years old.

Boy on swing

What are the signs of ADHD?

A child with ADHD may:

  • Have a short attention span.
  • Get easily distracted.
  • Appear forgetful or lose things often.
  • Struggle to follow instructions.
  • Often act without thinking.
  • Find it difficult to listen.
  • Switch from one activity to another frequently.
  • Fidget, or find it hard to sit still and be calm.
  • Talk an excessive amount.
  • Lack a sense of danger.
  • Struggle to resist temptation.
  • Interrupt when others are talking.

Lots of children go through periods of being excitable or finding it hard to concentrate. It’s important to know that this behaviour will not always mean your child has ADHD.

There is no clear understanding of what causes ADHD, but some evidence suggests it may run in families.

If you think your child might have ADHD

If you think your child is struggling in some of the above areas, you can:

  • Speak to the school. Ask to speak to the SENCo (special educational needs coordinator). They can observe your child and offer an opinion on whether your child needs support. They may put your child forward for an assessment.
  • Visit your GP. They will ask you some questions about your child’s behaviour and recommend next steps. They may encourage you to speak to school staff.
  • Talk to your health visitor. If your child still has a health visitor, you can speak to them about any concerns.

Supporting a child with ADHD

If your child does have ADHD it can be useful to understand how they might behave and what they might need from you. Read our advice on supporting a child with ADHD. 

Go back

How can I support a child with ADHD?


What SEN support can my child’s school provide?


How a soothing box can help your child feel safe or calm


What does a SEND or ALN diagnosis mean for me and my child?


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