From hyperactivity to impulsiveness to inattention, the signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can vary from child to child. But ADHD may also look different as your child ages from their elementary school years to their teen years. It's important to recognize the signs of ADHD in each age group so you know how to help your child as they grow. Here's what you need to know:
Hyperactivity and inattentiveness can create issues for children and teens. However, these characteristics may look different at each age group. Children may be easily distracted during school lessons or even fidget, while teens may talk excessively, get easily frustrated with a task or refuse to ask for assistance when they need it. It's important to check in and ask your teen how they are doing. You can help teens with ADHD by helping them stay on task with organizational coaches or with homework helpers and tutors. Children would also benefit with assistance from tutors, who can provide one-on-one targeted guidance. Children can also use assistance in this area with tutors, who can provide one-on-one guidance.
Students can often appear impulsive by blurting out answers during a class session. To note the frequency of this habit, you can tape a "behavior card" to your child's desk to help remind them of appropriate behaviors to display in the classroom. On the other hand, teens may become more interested in establishing and maintaining relationships but may have struggles in managing their emotions and reactions to outcomes they don't like, such as being rejected from a date. When this happens, they may impulsively blurt out something that hurts others' feelings without thinking about the consequences. You can help your teen manage their emotions by encouraging them to be a part of social activities, such as a school or community sports team, church choir, or an after-school art club.
While there are common signs of ADHD, remember that each child is unique. Thus, signs can vary across ages and gender groups. However, you can still take action when you know what to look for in advance. By understanding how ADHD looks at different stages of your child's development, you can find the help the best suits their needs.