Does My Child Have ADHD? Common Signs & Symptoms

If your child frequently experiences restlessness or difficulty concentrating on tasks, they might be showing signs of ADHD. With the condition affecting approximately 6-10% of Australian children (according to the National Institute of Health), it may be worthwhile getting your child assessed and diagnosed for ADHD by a psychologist.

What Is ADHD?

Clinically known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, with symptoms generally starts showing during early childhood. Children with ADHD often experience difficulty with concentration, attention, and self-control, which may display as bouts of overly energetic behaviour. If left undiagnosed and untreated, ADHD can affect the way a child learns, socialises, and develops both mentally and emotionally. 

The Changing Perception & Acceptance of ADHD in Children

Conversations about ADHD have been increasing, and there has been more awareness and willingness to discuss the condition. While existing studies suggest that there is a higher likelihood of it occurring in boys than girls,. recent studies reveal that ADHD often goes undiagnosed in girls and women. Girls often display subtler symptoms compared to boys, and this may result in a later diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or being missed completely. As awareness of ADHD and its gender differences grow, more and more educational and medical institutions across Australia are establishing support systems and guidelines to help children and their families in managingADHD.

Common Signs of ADHD in Children

There are 3 common behavioural indicators that may point to the presence of ADHD in a child. 


Children with ADHD mayusually showcase a very limited attention span and an inability to concentrate on conversations or tasks. This usually results in them moving from one action to another without fully completing the first.


A lack of self-control or an impulsive demeanour is a common sign of ADHD in children. They may frequently make decisions without thinking or talking over others.


ADHD can cause children to display a high level of energy, resulting in restless behaviour and the inability to simply “sit still”. It’s important to note that if a child consistently displays the above behaviour, it is possible (but not guaranteed) that they have ADHD. Only a mental health professional such as a psychologist will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis after specialised screening and assessment.

Symptoms of ADHD in Children

Here are some additional symptoms that may be indicative of ADHD:

  • Constantly forgetting instructions and conversations
  • Frequently losing things
  • Being unable to concentrate on a task until it is complete
  • Showing difficulty in organising tasks
  • Excessive fidgeting
  • Prone to accidents or dangerous situations
  • Feeling a persistent need to move around 
  • A lack of patience, especially when waiting in turn
  • Too much talking

Gender differences

ADHD symptoms present differently in boys and girls. Boys often exhibit more obvious symptoms such as hyperactivity and disruptive behaviour. In contrast, girls are more likely to display inattentive symptoms like day dreaming, being easily distracted, or seeming to not listen when spoken to. These symptoms may be less obvious and sometimes overlooked. It is therefore important to factor this in when considering your child’s behaviour. 

ADHD exists on a spectrum – it is possible for children with ADHD to display only some of these symptoms instead of all of them. There is also the possibility that the symptoms displayed are simply an effect of their ongoing development or personality. For these reasons, concerned parents and caretakers are advised to seek a professional diagnosis in order to determine the best approach to support their child’s development. Early intervention is crucial to an individual’s development and quality of life.

How Is ADHD Diagnosed in Children?

ADHD can only be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional such as a psychologist. Parents may wish to start by visiting their family GP to discuss their concerns, and potentially verify the symptoms of ADHD. Based on this initial consultation, your GP may then provide a referral to a paediatrician or a child psychologist who will be better suited to provide a full diagnosis. 

The Australian Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline for ADHD, developed by the Australian ADHD Professionals Association (AADPA), provides scientific evidence and advice for the identification, diagnosis, and treatment for ADHD in children. These recently introduced guidelines are utilised by our child psychologists at New Vision Psychology as an accurate way to determine if a child has ADHD. 

Treatment Options for ADHD

Treatment options for ADHD cover multiple areas of support (medicated and non-medicated) that will be critical in helping children with ADHD learn about their symptoms and potential skills that can make their lives easier. 

Behavioural interventions and therapy

Behavioural interventions are often the first-line treatment of ADHD in children, targeted at improving their ability to manage their symptoms. These may involve positive reinforcement; parent training; social skills training; establishing structured routines; and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for older children. These interventions require consistent effort and collaboration between parents, teachers and therapists. 

School support

School may be especially challenging for children with ADHD, as the usual structure of learning in most schools focuses on the student’s ability to focus and follow the curriculum. By communicating with school teachers and counsellors, parents and caretakers can help to find the right learning environment to help children with ADHD continue to learn and develop in ways that may be more flexible and conducive.

Parental support

As key figures in their children’s lives, parents and family members can attend sessions with a psychologist to help them better understand the challenges that their child faces, as well as learn strategies to support their development at home. These strategies also extend to helping family members manage the child’s behaviour, reducing the impact of ADHD on not only the child but also the rest of the family.

Medical treatment

Under certain circumstances, medication may be used to help mitigate severe symptoms in children. This must be prescribed by a medical doctor and side effects must be considered and monitored. Medication alone is not the solution – it should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan involving psychological, educational and behavioural strategies.

Get Your ADHD screening and diagnosis with New Vision Psychology

At New Vision Psychology, we offer ADHD diagnosis and treatment in Sydney with our team of highly qualified child psychologists. If you feel that your child may be presenting with symptoms similar to ADHD, the best thing you can do is to get them assessed and diagnosed early by an ADHD psychologist in Sydney so that both you and your child can get the right support. Contact our friendly team today to learn more about our ADHD assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.