Clinical diagnosis of ADHD in children is inexact.' - Statement from the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 19 June 2001
The official symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are:
Attention-deficit: The child often
* Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities
* Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
* Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
* Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (but not because of oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
* Has difficulty organising tasks and activities
* Avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
* Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (such as toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
* Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
* Is forgetful in daily activities.
Hyperactivity: The child often
* Fidgets with hands or feet, or squirms in seat
* Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
* Runs about or climbs excessively where it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, this may be seen as subjective feelings of restlessness)
* Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
* Is 'on the go' or acts as if 'driven by a motor'
* Talks excessively
* Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
* Has difficulty awaiting turn
* Interrupts or intrudes on others (for example, butts into conversations or games).