Think you or a loved one has ADHD? Take our free online test 

by Shea Brogren, MOT, OTR/L January 27, 2020 1 Comment

Think you or a loved one has ADHD? Take our free online test

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in today’s world. Approximately 4% of the U.S. adult population and 9% of the U.S. child population has a diagnosis of ADHD.

Symptoms can be present as young as age three and for most individuals will be present before adolescence. It is more common in males than in females. Symptoms can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.

ADHD is generally characterized by the presentation of symptoms. These symptoms can be categorized into three types, including hyperactivity/impulsivity, inattention, and combined type. We will explore each of these areas below, in our ADHD symptom checklist.

ADHD Symptoms Checklist

Below, we have compiled a list of symptoms of ADHD, which can help you determine if you or a loved one may have ADHD. Please note that in no way is this a formal assessment. This symptom checklist should not be considered a diagnostic tool. Only a trained professional, most commonly a psychologist or psychiatrist can diagnose ADHD.

Girl in classroom

This checklist has been broken down into three general symptom areas: Hyperactivity/Impulsivity, Inattention, and Behavioral.

It can be used for both children and adults.

At the end of this section is a link to an online test. Please use this test as a screening tool, to determine the need for further assessment. If you answer "yes" to 8 or more questions, then it may be appropriate to seek out professional guidance.

Hyperactivity and Impulsivity Symptoms

  • Frequently fidgets, moves in seat, leaves seat while in class or at work
  • Will tap feet, hands, fingers, or move their leg, etc. when sitting still
  • Talks often 
  • Can appear intrusive in conversations or social situations
  • Difficulty with playing or working quietly
  • Unable to sit still for extended periods of time
  • Always moving, “on the go,” and can be described as active
  • Trouble with taking turns, waiting in lines, waiting to answer questions, etc.
  • Interrupts conversations frequently
  • Difficulty settling down and falling asleep

Inattention Symptoms

  • May appear “aloof” or as if they're not processing information. You may feel as if they are not listening when you speak to them.
  • Trouble maintaining focus on a task
  • Becomes side-tracked or distracted easily
  • May leave tasks unfinished or partially finished
  • Makes frequent mistakes in schoolwork or other important work tasks
  • Appears forgetful - may forget to complete important tasks or forget about appointments, significant dates, etc.
  • Difficulty with following instructions, either written or verbal
  • Can be described as disorganized, has difficulty organizing personal items, keeping track of items, etc.
  • May have difficulty self-directing routines. For example, may not be able to organize or prioritize the steps to complete a task such as making breakfast.
  • Frequently loses or misplaces personal items

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • May be late frequently
  • Has frequent temper tantrums or becomes upset easily
  • Lacks appropriate coping skills
  • Becomes frustrated with difficult tasks, often will not follow through with completing tasks that are perceived to be difficult
  • Avoidance of tasks that may be perceived as difficult or requiring a lot of mental energy

Diagnosing ADHD

It is important to make a few important notes when discussing ADHD, its symptoms, and diagnosing ADHD. When we are discussing children, it is important to note that most children are busy, active, “on-the-go,” and many also have trouble sitting still. Most children are also generally moving frequently, climbing, running, etc. It is also common for young children to have short attention spans or have difficulty paying attention.

Mother and child

If a child is experiencing ADHD symptoms, these symptoms will be above average from what a typically developing child would experience. When we consider adults with ADHD, the traditional “hyperactive” piece may not be as present. In adults, hyperactivity typically manifests more as being restless, fidgety, and having difficulty sitting still for long periods of time. Each individual will have their own unique symptom presentation, and this will be dependent upon a variety of factors including, but not limited to, age, gender, personality characteristics, energy level, etc.

We wanted to note this to emphasize the importance of seeking out a comprehensive assessment for you, your loved one, or your child to help determine whether or not the symptoms you are witnessing are truly related to ADHD.

For an ADHD diagnosis to be given, symptoms must be experienced for at least six months and the symptoms must have a significant impact in at least two settings in the child or adult’s life.

For example, if a child is experiencing inattention symptoms at home, then they must also be experiencing these symptoms at school to be diagnosed with ADHD. The same sentiment applies to adults being diagnosed with ADHD.

If a formal assessment is warranted, a battery of tests will be completed. This will likely include a comprehensive medical, educational, and family history, observation by the trained professional giving the diagnosis, self-report assessments given to the individual being assessed, and parent, caregiver, and teacher report questionnaires.

Each of these items is taken into careful consideration and after all the information is compiled, a formal diagnosis will be given with further recommendations for treatment.

Take our FREE ADHD Assessment

This test is not an official assessment, but more of a tool to help you determine if an official assessment would be useful.

powered by Typeform



If you, your child, or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, these symptoms can have a great impact on daily life and daily routines. We hope that this ADHD symptoms checklist provided you with a better understanding of ADHD symptoms and helped you determine whether or not to seek out a formal assessment.

It is important to bring up these concerns with you or your child’s primary physician, as they can assist with determining the best course of action for assessment and potential treatment options.




Hamed, A.M, Kauer, A.J., & Stevens, H.E. (2015). Why the diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder matters. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 168 (6).

Wilens, T.E., & Spencer, T.J. (2010) Understanding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder from childhood to adulthood.Postgraduate Medicine, 122 (5), 97-109.

Shea Brogren, MOT, OTR/L
Shea Brogren, MOT, OTR/L

Shea Brogren, MOT, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist with over three years of experience in pediatrics and child/adolescent mental health and has also worked as an adjunct lecturer at the University of North Dakota. Shea has a special interest in program development and developed and implemented occupational therapy programming at a residential treatment center for children. She now practices in an outpatient setting.

Her primary area of interest involves working with children who have experienced developmental trauma. Shea has advanced training in SMART treatment (Sensorimotor Arousal Regulation Treatment), the Zones of Regulation, using sensory-based interventions to address trauma, infant mental health, attachment, and arousal regulation related to trauma disorders.

1 Response


March 25, 2022

i have hard time focusing on task and following instructions that were given

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Special Needs

What Are Primitive Reflexes?
What Are Primitive Reflexes?

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L December 14, 2023 1 Comment

We are all born with primitive reflexes and they should naturally integrate to promote higher level learning and motor development. Read our article to learn about the most common primitive reflexes addressed by Occupational Therapists and simple ideas that you can use to help your child.
Read More
Tips and Tricks for Your Sensory Avoiding Child
Tips and Tricks for Your Sensory Avoiding Child

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L June 29, 2023 1 Comment

What is a sensory avoider? What are the signs and what exactly do they mean? How can you help your child meet their sensory needs so they can feel successful throughout their day? This article answers these questions, and more!
Read More
Sensory Seeking
Tips and Tricks for Your Sensory Seeking Child

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L May 11, 2023 3 Comments

What is a sensory seeker? What are the signs and what exactly do they mean? How can you help your child meet their sensory seeking needs so they can feel successful throughout their day?  This article answers these questions, and more!
Read More
Liquid error (layout/theme line 1054): Could not find asset snippets/oneclickupsellapp-theme.liquid