Inattention and Hyperactivity: Is It Developmentally Appropriate or ADHD?

Jul 29, 2017

Credit, Flickr Creative Commons

As summer break rolls to a close and kids prepare to go back to school, Dr. Michael Bordieri and Tracy Ross discuss attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder on Sounds Good.


Bordieri says everyone has trouble with attention, especially young children who are in the process of developing their attention and self control skills. But when inattention and hyperactivity consistently interrupt activities every day and in every setting, ADHD could be at play. Typically, Bordieri says, ADHD is diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 12 when it is possible to begin differentiating between developmentally appropriate behaviors and flags of ADHD.

To determine a diagnosis, it is important that children undergo a comprehensive assessment with a trained psychologist. Bordieri says unlike other childhood diagnoses which rely on observations from teachers and family, there are many powerful tests used to assess children who may have ADHD. A signature of ADHD in children is that they have an average ability to understand the world around them and solve problems but struggle with short term memory and working on tasks quickly.


Kids diagnosed with ADHD could suffer from a combination of inattention and hyperactivity or could struggle with just one side of the spectrum. Bordieri says it is easy to notice hyperactivity but more difficult to find the children who are suffering quietly from inattention or depression. He says the mental health field is getting better at finding children suffering from difficult to notice issues. Bordieri adds that symptoms often improve or disappear with proper support and treatment.