For Teens & Children

ADHD in Teens and Children

Children and teens who have ADHD often display similar symptoms, including inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Some symptoms you experienced in childhood may change as you get older. You may have been more hyperactive as a child but less so as a teen. As you get older, you might struggle more with executive function skills, like completing homework, handing in assignments, or focusing on what the teacher says during class.

The best way to manage ADHD symptoms is to understand how they affect you. Some children and teens have trouble with time management, while others might struggle with blurting out in class or managing their emotions.

You could find that some of your biggest strengths come from having ADHD. You may be good at thinking creatively, focusing intently on a subject that interests you, or understanding concepts more quickly than your classmates. Having ADHD may contribute to being adventurous in life.

If you think you might have ADHD, talk with your parents or caregivers about finding a healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating ADHD in children and teens. If your healthcare provider prescribes medication, make sure that you understand how it will help you, and when and how you should take it. Be sure to let your prescriber know if the medication makes you feel uncomfortable in any way.

Sometimes the specialist will suggest talk therapy or meeting with a mental health counselor. Talking with someone about how ADHD symptoms affect you and developing new strategies together can be helpful. If you do take this option, it is important that you go to all your appointments.

Don’t be afraid to try out strategies to help with impulsivity, time management, or dealing with your emotions. Don’t worry if one strategy doesn’t work for you—there are lots of other strategies you can try that may be a better fit for your needs. ADHD symptoms affect people differently, so you want to find the treatments and strategies that work best for you. Make sure to review what works and doesn’t work for you with your healthcare provider, ADHD specialist, therapist or counselor, teachers, and your parents.

Self-Advocacy Tips for Teens

Speaker and learning disability advocate LeDerick Horne shares his insight for teens on how to self-advocate.


Here are additional resources:

For Teens

For Children