Symptoms of Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.” – Emma Watson, actress with ADHD

The different types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are diagnosed by identifying and observing distinct symptoms. The symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD are typically more noticeable than those of inattentive ADHD. It’s important for both teachers and parents to identify and understand these symptoms, as early identification is one of the best ways to help a child with ADHD. To be formally diagnosed with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, a child must exhibit six of the following nine symptoms across a range of environments within a period of six months with onset of symptoms seen before the age of 12 years.

Fidgeting and Squirming

Children with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD often struggle to sit still, especially for extended periods of time, and they may appear to exhibit some form of constant movement. Common examples include lightly tapping a pencil, squirming and shifting in a seat, wiggling feet or legs, and fiddling with anything within reach. This behavior is most easily observed in a classroom setting or at the dinner table.

Trouble staying seated

A child with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD may have trouble staying in his or her chair. These children feel compelled to stand up and work or even roam around the room when they’re supposed to be seated. This behavior is extremely noticeable in the classroom and can distract fellow students.

Inappropriate running/climbing

A child with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD can display restlessness in the form of running, jumping, or climbing in inappropriate situations. These children consistently struggle to resist the urge to release their energy, even against their own better judgment.

Difficulty playing quietly

Regular difficulty remaining quiet during playtime or leisure activities is another symptom of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. This behavior can be observed at recess, during naptime or silent reading, at home, or while playing with friends.


A child with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD is frequently hyperactive and displays an overall excessive increase in motoric and physical activity. Examples of hyperactivity include jumping, bending, or skipping when standing still is expected and is therefore easily observed in school or gym class.

Excessive talking

Talking excessively is another very common symptom of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. These children battle with impulsivity control and blurt out thoughts or responses. Excessive talking is often described as hyperactivity with words, “word vomit,” or inappropriate babbling. This symptom can be aggravating for both parents and teachers and is typically noticeable in several different environments.

Lack of patience

Children with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD may display a severe lack of patience. These children struggle to wait their turn, wait in line, or apply themselves to long-term projects or tasks. This symptom is typically observed at organized functions such as fairs, theme parks, or field days.

Inability to filter thoughts

A child with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD commonly struggles to filter his or her thoughts and often contributes irrelevant information. The inability to filter thoughts and actions inhibits and disrupts daily communication. Accordingly, this symptom is noticeable across a range of situations.

Frequent interruption

Frequent interruption is another common symptom of hyperactive-impulsive ADHD . These children often interrupt conversations, impose upon others, intrude on games or activities, or use others’ things without hesitation or permission. This behavior can be observed in the classroom or while the child is playing with friends.

How Hill Learning Center Can Help

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Sources:  CDC,, WebMD

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