How Do You Know If Your Child Has ADHD?

 In Blog, Child & Adolescent Assessment, Psychological Services

Who doesn’t know a child who can’t be still, not listen when he/she should be, not wait for his turn, be very disorganized and messy, or easily forgets things.  It is difficult sometimes to distinguish between what is normal ‘kid behaviour’ or what can be a very disabling disorder like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  

ADHD has become one of the most widely researched and diagnosed child developmental disorders over recent years.  So, what is ADHD and what does it really look like? According to the Learning Disability Association of Ontario, “ADHD is a common neurobiological disorder that can be noticed in the preschool or early grade of school.  ADHD affects between 5-12% of the population or about 1 or 2 students in every classroom”. ADHD encompasses two groups or clusters of symptoms. For example, there can be mostly “inattentive” symptoms/behaviours, and there can be mostly “hyperactivity/impulsivity” behaviours. An individual can have mostly behaviours from one group or both.  However, what is most significant when considering a diagnosis of ADHD is that many of these behaviours have been occurring for a long time (usually before the age of 12), and have been interfering for the individual in several settings. There can be difficulties with focus, distractibility, listening, and getting work started and finished. There can also be quick emotional meltdowns, anger outbursts, aggression, impulsivity, and frustration.   

Here are some of the most common characteristics of ADHD:


  • easily distracted by many stimuli
  • can’t focus for very long on things at school or in play activities
  • doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
  • difficulty remembering instructions
  • difficulty completing tedious or boring tasks
  • tunes out or is ‘spacey’
  • daydreams and can be sluggish or lethargic
  • difficulty getting started with work and not finishing it
  • gets bored easily
  • loses things and is disorganized


  • can’t sit still, restless and has to move around, and being fidgety
  • talks excessively
  • physically energetic and referred to as a “busy” child
  • difficulty settling down and being calm
  • inpatient and simply can’t wait for his turn
  • blurts out and interrupts others constantly
  • ‘leaps’ before looking or thinking
  • quickly works through activities and makes careless errors
  • accident prone

For more information about ADHD:  and  

If you think your child may have ADHD, consultation with your family doctor/pediatrician.  You can also call Insight Psychology on Norfolk and enquire about a consultation and/or psychological assessment.

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