Early Signs Of ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active. These symptoms may affect their ability to participate in age-appropriate activities.

Early signs.

Difficulty paying attention

  • -Several behaviors can indicate your child has difficulty with attention, a key sign of ADHD. In school aged children, symptoms of inattention may look like:
  • -difficulty with sustaining attention, in play or completing work
  • -difficulty listening and following directions
  • -difficulty paying attention to detail and making seemingly small mistakes
  • -challenges staying organized
  • -avoiding tasks at home or school that require more sustained attention

Note, however, that these behaviors can also be typical in a toddler and expected for their developmental phase.

Fidgeting and squirming

In the past, ADHD was called attention deficit disorder.

Many medical and mental health communities call the condition ADHD because the disorder often includes components of both hyperactivity and impulsivity. This is particularly true when diagnosed in preschool aged children.

Signs of hyperactivity that your toddler may display include:

  • -being overly fidgety and squirmy when seated
  • -being unable to sit still for calm activities like eating and having books read to them
  • -talking and making noise excessively
  • -running from toy to toy, or constantly being in motion
  • -running around or climbing at inappropriate times.


Another symptom of ADHD is impulsivity. Signs that your child has overly impulsive behaviors can include:

  • -displaying extreme impatience with others
  • -having difficulty waiting for their turn when playing with other children
  • -interrupting when others are talking
  • -speaking at inappropriate times
  • -answering questions before they are fully asked or finishing other people’s sentences

Again, these can be expected behaviors in toddlers. They would only be a reason for concern if they’re extreme when compared to those of children of a similar age or if they’re affecting your toddler’s functioning.

More signs and symptoms.

A school aged child with ADHD may show other symptoms as well. These may include:

  • -more frustration, anger, and outbursts than their peers
  • -endangering oneself or others due to fearlessness
  • -difficulty calming down
  • -aggressive behaviors (toward self or others)
  • -little need for sleep