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5 Signs of ADHD

March 14th, 2017

There are 5 hallmark signs of ADHD. These must be present early on and present for at least 6 months. You don’t develop ADHD suddenly in 3rd or 5th or 8th grades.

Short Attention Span for Routine Tasks

ADHD is characterized by the person that has difficulty with sustaining attention and effort over long periods of time.

At home, this looks like starting a project such as setting the table, getting started but not completing the task. Most ‘mundane’ or ‘routine’ tasks often get started but not completed. On the other hand, exciting, new, or novel tasks get done easily. As a parent, it can even be annoying when you see your child able to focus on the new lego kit or new car stereo magazine when they just can’t seem to focus and complete their chores.


Distractibility is actually different from short attention span. Distractibility is being hypersensitive to the environment. This may be a sensitivity to clothing tags, traffic sounds, the sound of the heater or air conditioner. They are often ‘bombarded’ from visual stimuli. When this happens, books that have lots of pictures or graphics may be overwhelming. This also happens when someone has problems with visual figure-ground perception. The best thing to do here is to cover up parts of the page you don’t need to look at right now to reduce the visual input.

Signs of ADHD in Kids and Adults

Organizational Problems

Organizational problems are also known as problems with executive function. It goes hand-in-hand with ADHD. This is the inability to organize time, space, projects, short and long-term goals. Having messy rooms, backpacks, closets, dressers, and desks is common. Sometimes the outer appearance of a person’s room or desk will appear neat, but as soon as you open it up it is a mess.

Keeping track of time can be a challenge. Being late is common. completing projects is challenging. There is not a sense of a project having a beginning, middle, and end. Practice with paragraph writing will help tune you into this organizational skill.

Poor Internal Supervision

Internal supervision takes place in the frontal cortex of the brain. Again, this is part of executive function. This is the person that often says something that makes the situation worse. Speaking without thinking through what you are about to say is another example of this. Problem-solving can also be a challenge.


Procrastination is common with those with ADHD. Most people with ADHD wait until the very last minute to do homework, chores, pay bills, buy gifts, and more. This often irritates those around them because they feel like they need to pick up the slack. Work is often done poorly or is incomplete due to the procrastination. There isn’t enough time to get the work done neatly and completely.

Things to Do For ADHD

Remember, when your child is diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, you know there may be problems ahead. ADD/ADHD obviously affects performance in a school setting, as well as other parts of their life. Children and adults with ADHD have neurological gaps that interfere with the cognitive processes of memory, concentration, and attention span.

A few quick tips for kids:

  • To help with organization in the bedroom, use bins. You can use them for clothes instead of dresser drawers. Have different color-coded bins for sorting books, sports equipment, pens, pencils, and more.
  • Make sure to snack throughout the day with cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt, and nuts. Keep a water bottle with them.
  • For help with taking notes and writing papers, use graphic organizers. These can make it easier to organize your thoughts and ideas.
  • Don’t forget to get some exercise in your day. Exercise actually creates a crucial protein that maintains and creates new neurons. This protein is known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF for short.

For more tips on ADHD, be sure to check out our kindle books and ADHD course below.

Signs of ADHD, Family Strategies for ADHD Kids
Signs of ADHD, School Strategies for ADHD Kids
Signs of ADHD, ADHD Classroom and Teaching Strategies

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Signs of ADHD in Children

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