The ADD School Age Child

lifespan_schoolageWhat specific behaviors indicate that a school age child might have ADD?

Efficient attention is required for success in all areas of life. As an ever-present filter between the individual’s external and internal worlds, it screens all incoming and outgoing information to and from the brain. In this way, attention has a profound influence on how an individual experiences events and behaves in all life spheres: school, job, home, and neighborhood. It interacts with other skills and abilities to shape the quality of social interactions, school/job performance, and independent functioning. Therefore, behaviors that suggest attentional difficulty can appear in any area of a person’s life. The following behaviors identify some of the more common red flags that might signal ADD in school age children ages six to twelve years old.

The ADD School Age Child (Six to Twelve Years)

  •  Quitting activities before they are completed
  • Interrupting conversations; not taking turns when talking
  • Talking off topic
  • Failing to make eye contact
  • Jumping from one play activity to another
  • Requiring constant supervision to complete chores, routines, (e.g., dressing, bathing, etc.), and independent seatwork
  • Seeming to be sleepy, drowsy, or restless during learning situations
  • Rushing through things; doing sloppy work
  • Losing one’s place during reading; skipping, omitting, or reversing letters and words during reading and writing
  • Making careless errors on simple tasks; guessing at answers
  • Failing to check over schoolwork
  • Failing to finish work; being disorganized
  • Relying on parents for studying and organizing schoolwork
  • Forgetting and losing things; not remembering assignments
  • Talking out in class
  • Saying, doing, and writing things without thinking first
  • Failing to respond to discipline
  • Getting in fights
  • Having friends who are either much older or much younger
  • Looking disheveled: zipper down, shirt tail out
  • Seeming to be “spacey” or “out of it” at times
  • Walking into walls, doors, and furniture
  • Being accident-prone; spilling and dropping things

ADD Basics 101 | Dr. Craig LidenIf your response to this list is “Oh, boy.  I know a kid like that.  Now what?”,  go to and download Dr. Liden’s free guide, ADD Basics 101. In 10 clear steps, Dr. Liden will guide you to an accurate, trustworthy diagnosis and outline what you should look for in an effective treatment plan.


AFScovers2Maybe you already have a child identified with ADD/ADHD who is struggling in school.  Dr. Liden’s book, Accommodations for Success, is an amazing resource to help you understand your child better and get her the individualized help she needs to soar at school.


Check back tomorrow for red flags in adolescents’ behavior…

Catch up on previous posts in the Pay Attention series.

Our current blog series is excerpted from Dr. Liden’s best-selling book, Pay Attention!: Answers to Common Questions About the Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder.

About cblmd

medical director of the being well center, ADHD expert, speaker, and author

8 thoughts on “The ADD School Age Child

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