Below you will find an interactive symptoms checklist for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). You can go through each symptom and check off the ones that pertain to your child. The symptoms in the checklist fall under two categories: inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive.
Symptoms are based on the criteria indicated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) , the tool used by medical and mental health practitioners to diagnose ADHD. After completing the checklist you can print out the results and take them to your child’s doctor/mental health provider.
When completing the checklist below, think about which behaviors your child has displayed over the last six months to a degree that seems inappropriate for his/her developmental level. It is helpful to observe the child’s behavior in different settings, like at home, school, or with peers. Ask a relative, friend, coach, teacher, or daycare provider to tell you what they see your child doing. You can print off a blank checklist and send it to them as well.
To meet criteria for ADHD, at least six symptoms (five symptoms for 17 and older) have persisted for at least six months, in either the Inattentive or Hyperactive/Impulsive Category (or in both) to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities.
Six or more symptoms in the Inattentive Category is known as ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive Presentation. Six or more symptoms in the Hyperactive/Impulsive Category is known as ADHD: Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Presentation. Six or more symptoms in both categories (for a combined total of 12 or more) is known as ADHD: Combined Presentation.
Disclaimer: This tool is not meant to diagnose anyone with ADHD. It is simply a way to track your observations and an aid to take along with you when meeting with your child’s doctor/mental health provider.
Keep in mind: When a doctor or mental health provider evaluates a child for ADHD, the following must be taken into consideration in addition to the presenting symptoms:
- Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present prior to age 12 years.
- Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms are present in two or more settings (e.g., at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
- There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, academic, or occupational functioning.
- The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder and are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, personality disorder, substance intoxication or withdrawal).
ADHD Interactive Checklist
Child’s name :
Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities (e.g., overlooks or misses details, work is inaccurate).
Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities (e.g., has difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy reading).
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (e.g., mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of any obvious distraction).
Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked).
Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities (e.g., difficulty managing sequential tasks; difficulty keeping materials and belongings in order; messy, disorganized work; has poor time management; fails to meet deadlines).
Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g., schoolwork or homework; for older adolescents and adults, preparing reports, completing forms, reviewing lengthy papers).
Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli (for older adolescents and adults, may include unrelated thoughts).
Is often forgetful in daily activities (e.g., doing chores, running errands; for older adolescents and adults, returning calls, paying bills, keeping appointments).
Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in seat
Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected (e.g., leaves his or her place in the classroom, in the office or other workplace, or in other situations that require remaining in place).
Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate. (Note: In adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless.)
Often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly
Is often “on the go,” acting as if “driven by a motor” (e.g., is unable to be or uncomfortable being still for extended time, as in restaurants, meetings; may be experienced by others as being restless or difficult to keep up with).
Often talks excessively
Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed (e.g., completes people’s sentences; cannot wait for turn in conversation).
Often has difficulty waiting his or her turn (e.g., while waiting in line).
Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations, games, or activities; may start using other people’s things without asking or receiving permission; for adolescents and adults, may intrude into or take over what others are doing).Type Additional Concerns Here:
Vanderbilt ADHD Checklist for Parents
Vanderbilt ADHD Checklist for Teachers
14 Strategies to Help Children with ADHD (Home and School)
What are the Symptoms of ADHD and How Is It Assessed?
6 Research-Based Treatments for the Treatment of ADHD in Children
Please Don’t Take Away My Recess (A Poem About ADHD)
Rachel Wise is the author and founder of Education and Behavior. Rachel created Education and Behavior in 2014 for adults to have an easy way to access research-based information to support children in the areas of learning, behavior, and social-emotional development. As a survivor of abuse, neglect, and bullying, Rachel slipped through the cracks of her school and community. Education and Behavior hopes to play a role in preventing that from happening to other children. Rachel is also the author of Building Confidence and Improving Behavior in Children: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.
“Children do best when there is consistency within and across settings (i.e., home, school, community). Education and Behavior allows us to maintain that consistency.”