Has your child been labelled as a troublemaker? Are they disrupting other students in class? Can they sometimes be unruly and difficult to discipline? These could be signs of the neurological condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Common symptoms of ADHD include hyperactivity, impulsivity and lack of focus. However, these are not the only symptoms you should be aware of. It may seem simple to pre-diagnose your child according to these symptoms, but there are three different types of ADHD to be aware of — all of which showcase their own set of symptoms. 

This blog post explores the common symptoms of each type of ADHD, and how they apply to children. Finally, we’ll focus on the types of available treatments. 

What Is ADHD and Common Symptoms

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that typically appears in early childhood. This disorder makes it difficult for children to inhibit their spontaneous responses — making them impulsive. This condition is not curable but there are ways to minimise the negative effects. In Singapore, it is reported that 4.9% of primary school children have ADHD — according to the Ministry of Health

For children, ADHD is often expressed in the following symptoms: being unable to sit still, not listening, not following instructions, impulsiveness, and excessive talking. These symptoms can then be further categorised into one of the three types of ADHD mentioned below. 

3 Types of ADHD and Their Symptoms

1. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation

Children with inattentive ADHD will have trouble focusing on tasks they don’t enjoy and staying on track. If a task is repetitive or boring, your child may struggle to pay attention, whereas, if they enjoy the task or topic, they will have no problem paying attention. Inattentive ADHD causes problems with schoolwork, as they have trouble concentrating. Some symptoms to look out for is if your child:

  • Has trouble staying focused — easily distracted or bored.
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to, or appears to be daydreaming.
  • Has difficulty remembering or following instructions.
  • Makes careless mistakes and is distracted by unimportant stimuli.
  • Has trouble staying organised and finishing projects, often seen to be messy and has poor time management skills.
  • Frequently misplaces items, like books, toys and homework; or are forgetful in their daily life.

2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation

Hyperactivity is often the most common sign of ADHD. Children with Hyperactive ADHD are often restless and struggle to sit still. They are prone to impulsivity and the symptoms include:

  • Constantly fidgeting (leg shaking, fidgeting with stationary, etc.).
  • Difficulties staying seated or relaxing.
  • Interrupting conversations or activities.
  • Difficulty sitting still or playing quietly.
  • Constant movement, including inappropriate running and climbing.
  • Excessive talking.
  • Having difficulty waiting their turn and often blurting out answers.
  • Taking over others’ tasks without permission.
  • Quick temper.

3. Combined Presentation (Inattentive and Hyperactive)

This type of ADHD is often the most common form presented in children. It combines the two aforementioned types, with the child matching more than half of the symptoms. 

If you are unsure which type of ADHD your child may have, it’s best to contact a specialist to receive a diagnosis. Although ADHD is not a learning difficulty, its symptoms can affect a child’s ability to succeed in school. While this may seem worrisome — it is manageable with the right treatment. However, if you feel that your child doesn’t have ADHD but is still struggling to learn how to read and write, there might be another cause. Our blog post explores the overlap of ADHD with other specific learning disorders.

ADHD — What Comes Next?

If you recognise ADHD symptoms in your child, you should consider seeking a professional diagnosis. Not only will this help them with academic achievements in the classroom, but it will also assist with their emotional well-being. According to the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology people with ADHD are more prone to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. They are also more likely to develop antisocial behaviour and disciplinary problems. 

Leaving your child’s ADHD prognosis to go unchecked can result in later problems in their life. As poor school performance can lead to a multitude of problems, including that they’re less likely to receive a tertiary education, get a well-paying job, and interact well with their colleagues. That’s why it's so important to make use of treatments developed by psychologists and educational specialists to help your child thrive. 

The first step to managing your child's ADHD is by having them professionally diagnosed by a specialist.  From there, you can discover available treatments.

ADHD Treatments

With a referral from your doctor or therapist, you can schedule to see an ADHD specialist at a public health facility. At Thomson Kids our assessment process focuses on: psychological testing, behavioural assessment, and schoolwork. Once an appropriate diagnosis has been made, we will then be able to help you understand your child’s condition and ensure they get the appropriate treatment. 

There are several treatments available to assist your child in coping with ADHD, but it is always best to consult with an expert before undertaking any of them. These treatments can involve: therapy, a better diet and exercise plan, modifying your home environment, and medication. With the right support from you and professionals, your child will be on track for a successful life. 

Want to learn more about our ADHD assessments in greater depth? Read our guide: How to help children with ADHD overcome learning difficulties. 

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