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5 Signs to Look for in Children with ADD

  • Trouble Staying Focused On a Task
  • Appears Not to Listen
  • Does Not Pay Attention to Details
  • Difficulty With Staying Organized
  • Loses or Misplaces Items

Parents, educators, caregivers, family members and healthcare providers should be aware of these five signs to look for in children with ADD, or attention deficit disorder. The symptoms of ADD may be a little different in each child, but most children will have three or more of these common symptoms. Anyone who notices these consistent symptoms in a child over a period of one month or longer should consider a referral or taking the child to a pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist for an evaluation.

Trouble Staying Focused On a Task

A child with ADD often has trouble staying focused on a task. They might stop working on the task before completing it. They may stop doing their work and stare into space for a while. Some children get up and wander around or take multiple breaks, stretching out the amount of time that it takes to complete the task. They may get distracted by mundane things like a pencil or their shoelace. The child with ADD often gets bored.

Appears Not to Listen

Another sign of ADD is when a child appears not to listen when being spoken to. They might look as if they are in their own world. When an adult says their name or makes a sound in order to get their attention, the child may not realize it right away. The adult might have to say the child’s name several times in order to get them to notice that they are being spoken to. The child may have been looking at the adult when spoken to, but they may claim to not have heard what was said to them.

Does Not Pay Attention to Details

Children with this problem of inattention often fail to follow the complete set of instructions they were given. It does not matter if the instructions were written or oral. The child might skip parts of what they should have done. They often fail to pay attention to other details, such as the minutiae of a story or the gist of a joke. The inattention to detail and difficulty with remembering more than one or two instructions often leads to careless mistakes in a child with ADD.

Difficulty With Staying Organized

A child with ADD often has difficulty with staying organized. Even though the child might know that they need to bring a pencil and notebook to class every day, they might chronically forget one or even both of those items. They may run into deadlines due to failure to plan ahead for a project. Children with ADD may fail to finish projects on time, including projects for school and tasks they were given to do at home.

Loses or Misplaces Items

According to Help Guide, another sign to look for in a child who might have ADD is frequently losing or misplacing items. For example, a child with ADD who plays soccer might frequently lose their shin guards, cleats or mouth guard. They might misplace their homework, even though they claim with certainty that they put it in a specific place. They may even lose or misplace their favorite toys or other treasured items.

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In a competitive learning environment, a child with ADD may be at a considerable disadvantage. Being able to recognize the early warning signs of ADD allows a child to be diagnosed and get started with an individualized treatment plan that can include accommodations in the learning environment. Knowledge of these five signs to look for in children with ADD helps parents, family members, educators, caregivers and others to provide the best possible care for the child.