Hyperactivity Symptoms: Is My Child Hyperactive, or Just Active?

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Communication Issues

Common hyperactivity symptoms include both communication issues and physical hyperactivity. Many children with ADHD seem to talk excessively. They may blurt out answers before the questioner even finishes a question, and they can interrupt other people’s speech or games without realizing they are doing so. Because of this, a child with ADHD may have trouble taking turns - both in conversation and in play. These symptoms can make it difficult for children with ADHD to get along well both with peers and in a classroom setting.

Physical Hyperactivity

Children with ADHD often also exhibit signs of physical hyperactivity. For example, a child with ADHD often fidgets and squirms, seeming to be constantly “on the go.” They may need to get up frequently to run around or change positions often. Children with ADHD may also struggle to play quietly, and may want to climb move around at inappropriate times. These symptoms of ADHD may not affect a child’s social life much, but they can cause problems in a traditional classroom environment where students are expected to sit still for long periods of time.

Variations by Age

Children with ADHD may exhibit different symptoms based on their age ranges. For examples, toddlers and preschoolers with ADHD often move around a lot, which can prevent them from taking part successfully in group activities such as circle time or story time. Slightly older children may sit in a classroom setting, but will squirm and fidget, talk a lot, or change position often. Adolescents and adults may feel these same impulses (the need to get up and run around), but they manifest themselves as feelings of restlessness, and the inability to take part in more sedentary pastimes.

Is My Child Hyperactive? Or Just Active?

Just because your child is active does not mean that he is hyperactive, or that he has ADHD. If your child is only extremely active occasionally, or if it only began much later in life (past age six), your child is probably not truly hyperactive. In addition, true hyperactivity manifests itself in all different locations - at home, in school, in the grocery store - rather than limiting itself to one venue. (Two of the only activities that hyperactive kids can do without fidgeting are watch fast-paced television and play fast-paced video games.)

In addition, when a hyperactive child misbehaves, you may feel like the child has no idea that he has done anything wrong, and is merely giving in to a very strong urge. When you try to discipline a hyperactive child, you may feel like the child is not even listening to you, rather than looking over his shoulder in expectation of your disapproval.

The hyperactivity symptoms differ from one child to another. If you suspect that your child is exhibiting these symptoms, visit a doctor who has experience in diagnosing hyperactivity. The doctor should be able to give you guidance about how to harness your child’s hyperactivity effectively.





This post is part of the series: Kids With ADHD: Tips and Advice

If you have a child or student with ADHD, you may be wondering how to deal with her most effectively. This series of articles will help you understand children with ADHD as well as how to help them succeed.

  1. The Top ADHD Books for Children and Teens
  2. What are Hyperactivity Symptoms?