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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects a person's behaviour. A person with ADHD can seem restless, may act on impulse and may have trouble concentrating. The symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age, and most cases are diagnosed when children are between 3 to 7 years old. Sometimes ADHD is not recognised when someone is a child, and can be diagnosed later in adulthood. Some symptoms of ADHD can improve with age, but many adults can continue to experience problems.
Children may have symptoms of both inattentiveness and hyperactivity and impulsiveness, or they may have symptoms of just one of these types of behaviour.
The main signs of inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing) are: making careless mistakes; having a short attention span and being easily distracted; being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming; appearing forgetful or losing things; appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions; constantly changing activity or task and having difficulty organising tasks.
The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are: constantly fidgeting; being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings; being unable to concentrate on tasks; excessive talking; excessive physical movement; being unable to wait their turn; interrupting conversations; acting without thinking; having little or no sense of danger.
These symptoms can cause significant problems in a child's life, such as problems with discipline, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and underachievement at school.
If you're looking after a child with ADHD, you may find this advice helpful: