8 Signs of ADHD In Children (And How to Manage It)


  1. What is ADHD and its symptoms?
  2. What are the first signs of ADHD?
  3. What causes ADHD behavior?
  4. Is ADHD a bad thing?
  5. How do you help a child with ADHD?
  6. Is ADHD classed as a disability in the UK?
  7. Can a child with ADHD be good at school in the UK?

Wondering whether or not your child has ADHD can be stressful. Our GoStudent guide gives you a complete list of symptoms to look out for as well as causes and treatments for your child’s ADHD. Keep on reading for tips and resources that will support you and your child to mindfully manage their ADHD.woman talking with child

What is ADHD and its symptoms?

The NHS defines ADHD as:

“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects people's behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.” 

What are the first signs of ADHD?  

Some of the early signs of ADHD include a short attention span, constantly fidgeting and acting without thinking. 

Most people with ADHD show signs of problems with both hyperactivity and inattentiveness. Though some people only have problems with the latter and in this case, their condition is called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). 

What are the symptoms of ADHD in a child?

❇️  Interrupting others  

❇️  Trouble waiting their turn 

❇️  Temper tantrums at inappropriate times

❇️  Fidgeting when required to sit still 

❇️  Trouble finishing tasks due to lack of attention span

❇️  Trouble getting organised 

❇️  Lack of focus

❇️  Spend a lot of time daydreaming

❇️  Extreme emotional turmoil 

❇️  Problems playing quietly

These are some common symptoms, though here is a more exhaustive list of ADHD symptoms in kids.  

What are the signs of ADHD in babies?

According to this NHS Foundation Trust, “A diagnosis of ADHD can be considered but will not usually be confirmed until a child is around six years old.” 

Though ADHD symptoms can be detected before that and intervening earlier can give your child a headstart in managing their condition. 👊 

Some of the early signs of ADHD in babies are : 

❇️  Babies that not only cry constantly but have a problem with self-soothing.  

❇️  Babies that are angry, fussy, and difficult to control. 

❇️  Babies who have problems feeding and falling and/or staying asleep. 

These signs indicate that these babies have “early negative emotionality (poor response to stress and a tendency to react with unpleasant emotions) which is highly predictive of ADHD.”

What are the early signs of ADHD in toddlers?


The predictive negative emotionality of ADHD in a toddler will look different from regular hyperactivity. 

Toddlers with indicative ADHD will have intense meltdowns over seemingly “small deals.” This is because everything is a “big deal” for them. 🤯

ADHD symptoms in toddlers can be spotted in these behaviours: 

❇️  Aggressive and emotionally intense responses to being denied rewards. 

❇️  Extreme frustration, outbursts and even anger when presented with challenging tasks. 

❇️  Having no patience when it comes to getting what they want as they experience the pressure of wanting everything now.  

What causes ADHD behaviour?

👉  Genetics 

Doctors and researchers believe ADHD could be related to genetics. So kids whose parents and siblings have ADHD are more likely to have it too. 

👉  Reduced dopamine 

Research suggests that reduced dopamine in the brain can cause ADHD. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that allows us to emotionally regulate ourselves as well as take specific actions to receive rewards. This is possibly why kids with ADHD have difficulty when it comes to self-soothing and completing tasks. 

👉  Structural changes in the brain

Other research suggests that ADHD is linked to structural differences in the brain. People with ADHD have seemingly less grey matter volume.

Grey matter includes the brain areas that help with:

❇️  Speech

❇️  Self-control

❇️  Decision-making

❇️  Muscle control

Is ADHD a bad thing?

ADHD can be a challenging condition but it is not a bad thing. It only becomes a bad thing if left untreated. 

ADHD makes it challenging for students to learn. If they don’t know the cause of their struggles and aren’t able to manage their behaviour their self-confidence might take a hit.

ADHD also prevents kids from regulating their emotions which hampers their social skills and makes it difficult for them to make friends. This lack of connection with peers can affect their mental health and happiness

That is why it is vital that parents seek treatment for their child’s ADHD. 

How do you help a child with ADHD?

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, they can be treated with both therapy and medication.

ADHD medication influences brain chemicals in a way that helps kids regulate their emotions and control their actions.  

In therapy kids (sometimes with parents) discuss with the therapist or counsellor how ADHD affects their lives and strategies they can practice to manage it. 

Other ways parents can help their child with ADHD:  

❇️  ADHD will affect your whole family. So the entire family should be aware of it and normalise the condition so your child does not feel stigmatised. 

❇️  Children with ADHD are likely to have challenging behaviour both at home and in school. So it’s important that parents pre-determine boundaries with kids where aggressive behaviour like acts of violence and swearing are deemed unacceptable. 

❇️ Help your child implement the coping strategies of managing ADHD provided to them by specialists or counsellors. 

❇️ Make sure kids have a healthy diet and restful sleep to help them manage their ADHD.  

❇️  Give kids appropriate praise when required, but be careful not to overpraise.  

❇️  Don’t forget to look after yourself. Your child needs your time and patience to help them manage their ADHD. 

❇️  Reach out to local parenting programmes and support groups, which can help you and your child stay on top of ADHD. Some of these include: 

⭐️ ADHD Foundation

⭐️  Young Minds

⭐️  The Hyperactive Children’s Support Group 

⭐️  Parenting Special Children

⭐️  ADHD Care 

⭐️  IPSEA 

⭐️  Contact - For Families With Disabled Children  

Is ADHD classed as a disability in the UK?

In the UK, the legal definition of a disability, according to The Equality Act 2010 is: 

“A physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ (12 months or more) negative effect on a person’s ability to do day to day activities.” 

So yes, ADHD will be recognised as a disability if the degree of an individual’s ADHD meets the defined criteria. 

Can a child with ADHD be good at school in the UK?

Children with ADHD struggle to concentrate in class and their behaviour can be disruptive for their learning. 

Though all they need is the right support from education specialists, their teachers and parents to help them cope and manage their ADHD. ✊

This way they are sure to thrive both academically and socially to the best of their abilities! So yes, with the right care, a child with ADHD can be great at school and fulfil their learning potential! 🚀

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