Diagnostic Criteria

Inattentiveness – 6 of the following 9 criteria should be met

Often fails to give close attention to detail, makes careless mistakes with school work, work and other activities Things get missed out, make silly mistakes, get distracted easily
Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities May not be able to filter out unrelated sounds, little or no concentration if uninterested in the activity, may focus intently on something that interests them
Often does not seem to listen when spoke to directly Often in a world of their own, daydreaming, often switch off during conversations, miss much of what is going on at school
Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or work duties (but not because of oppositionality or failure to understand) Often fail to finish schoowork because bored and distracted. Children are unable to follow multiple instructions because they get distracted and forget
Often has difficulty organising tasks and activities People with ADHD are often unable to appreciate time and have an inability to forward think
Often avoids dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or home work) ADHD children often procrastinate which is very frustrating for parents. 10 minutes home work can often take several hours as the child finds multiple excuses like going to the toilet, sharpening pencils etc.
Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g. toys school assignments, pencils, books, or tools) Things get put down and then the child becomes distracted and moves on to the next thing
If often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli Children are distracted by other children talking, birds singing or any other outside noise or movement
Is often forgetful in daily activities Children forget to pass on messages, forget homework, keys. They have difficulty getting organised for work or school, and often have to re-read things

Hyperactivity - Impulsivity - 6 of the following 9 criteria should be met

Often fidgets with hands and feet or squirms in seat People with ADHD are often unable to sit still - they are constantly wriggling and fiddling with any object in reach. This is very annoying particularly in the classroom
Often leaves seat in classroom or other situations in which remaining seated is expected People with ADHD are often unable to sit still for long and are constantly getting out of their chair to wander. This is particularly difficult in the classroom or work place as children get older and are expected to sit for long periods. This can be very disruptive for lessons and other people
Often runs about or climbs, excessively in situations in which it is innapropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness) Children with ADHD often run around and climb with no thought to danger either to themselves
Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly Children with ADHD are often excessively noisy
Is often 'on the go' or often acts as if 'driven by a motor' Pre-school children with ADHD seem as though they never stop - this becomes less of a problem as the child gets older
Often talks excessively Children with ADHD talk non stop often about nothing. Parents, teachers and their peers are often driven to distraction by their incessant chattering
Often blurts out answers before questions, have been completed School children with ADHD will interrupt to answer a question and will often not be answering the question asked.
Often has difficulty awaiting turn. Children with ADHD are often unable to wait their turn and follow rules they will often jump in front of other children.
Often interrupts or intrudes on others e.g. butts in conversations or games Children with ADHD are often unable to wait while a conversation finishes particularly when it's a phone call, this is very frustrating for both teachers and parents

Children with ADHD have poor self regulation, leading to difficulty managing their behaviour. They have no control over their reaction to situations, are unable to stop before acting and often find themselves saying, doing or reacting emotionally to a trigger without any thought to their actions or its consequences.

Children with ADHD will often

  • Run across the road to a friend or chase a ball across the road with out any thought for their safety or anyone else’s
  • Have difficulty following rules and keeping within boundaries
  • Say cruel and hurtful things to friends and family with no appreciation of the effect of their words
  • Climb out of windows without any thought of how far they may fall
  • Climb to the top of a tree or up a cliff or on to a roof without a strategy to get down, or any thought of danger
  • Use unacceptable language without realising it and then deny it
  • Have temper tantrums, and react physically or verbally and then forget the outburst and wonder why the family / school are so distressed by their behaviour
  • Rarely learn from their experiences,and repeatedly make the same mistake over and over again
  • Be easily ‘set up’ by their peers to misbehave
  • If a group is misbehaving and teacher approaches every other child will stop, but the ADHD child will carry on and be caught. He /she is then unable to understand why they are the only one in trouble!

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