ADHD Signs & Symptoms

Wellplace Michigan functions as the Access Center for Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority (DWMHA). As the Access Center, Wellplace serves as the front door for individuals seeking mental health or substance abuse information and services in Detroit-Wayne County.

About Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD or ADHD) affects on average 7% of school age children ages 6 to 18, and has been estimated to be as high as 12% in the general population. While many of the symptoms associated with this disorder are easily recognized by parents, these symptoms do not always mean that a child is suffering from ADHD. The Wellplace Michigan ACCESS Center’s aim is to assist parents in recognizing the signs and symptoms of ADHD, and when to seek a referral for professional screening and assessment.

Understanding ADHD

While ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) has become the generic way of referring to this disorder, there are actually 3 variations that children can express. The first is the child who has difficulty focusing their attention, but does not experience symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity. The second is the child who expresses hyperactivity or is impulsive, but otherwise is able to pay attention. And the third is the child who experiences a mixture of inattention and hyperactivity or impulsivity.

Diagnosing ADHD

Even though there are excellent screening tools available that help to sort out symptoms in each of these categories, a true diagnosis of ADHD will need to be made by a clinical professional. A professional evaluation will utilize not only screening instruments, but also rely on parent and teacher self reports, and will also include a formal diagnostic interview.

Symptoms of ADHD

Sorting Out the Symptom Complex of ADHD

Children mature at different rates and have different personalities, temperaments, and energy levels. Most children go through periods of being distracted, acting impulsively, or struggle to concentrate. Sometimes, these normal factors may be mistaken for ADHD. ADHD symptoms usually appear early in life, often between the ages of 3 and 6. And because symptoms vary from person to person, the disorder can be hard to diagnose.

It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months, and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Have difficulty focusing on one thing
  • Become easily bored with a task after a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  • Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
  • Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  • Struggle to follow instructions

Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Talk nonstop
  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  • Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
  • Be constantly in motion
  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

  • Be very impatient
  • Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  • Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  • Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities

If after reviewing this list you feel your child has been experiencing more than six of the symptoms listed above for a period of six months or longer, the Pioneer Behavioral Health ACCESS Center encourages you to contact us at (800) 241-4949 or (313) 224-7000, TTY: (866) 870-2599 to see about having your child screened and to receive a professional assessment.

Additional ADHD Resources

ADHD Resources:

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) is one of the largest national organizations devoted solely to issues related to ADHD.

The mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the prevention, treatment and cure of mental illness. The site contains a large ADHD FAQ section, including an en extensive collection of information about ADHD research.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides general information about ADHD, its symptoms, and its effects on relationships. Provides other references. has substantial information about all facets of ADHD including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis.