ADHD and School Struggles

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common neurobehavioral condition that affects approximately 10 percent of school-aged children. Symptoms of ADHD usually appear in early childhood and usually come to the attention of the family as the child enters school. It can be very upsetting to see your child struggle in school and in their relationships with others. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis. Untreated ADHD can have long-standing consequences including school failure, family stress and disruption, depression and anxiety, accidental injuries, problems with relationships, substance use, and job failure.

Children often present with a combination of symptoms of inattention AND hyperactivity/impulsivity. Some children may present with only inattentive symptoms which may go unnoticed by teachers and parents.

Children should have six or more symptoms listed below for inattentive type of ADHD, and 12 or more symptoms listed below for the combined type of ADHD to confirm the diagnosis.

ADHD predominantly inattentive presentation

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Does not appear to listen
  • Struggles to follow through with instructions
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort 
  • Loses things, is easily distracted, and is forgetful in daily activities   

ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair 
  • Has difficulty remaining seated 
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in children; extreme restlessness in adults
  • Difficulty engaging in activities quietly 
  • Acts as if driven by a motor; adults will often feel inside as if they are driven by a motor
  • Talks excessively 
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed 
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns Interrupts or intrudes upon others   

It is important to get an accurate diagnosis of your child’s symptoms because there are evidence-based treatments (medication and behavioral) that can markedly impact your child’s success in school and life. Not all school struggles are due to ADHD, and it is important to look for other conditions that affect learning and academic success (specific learning disabilities and anxiety and depression to name a few). The providers at Dundalk Pediatrics specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in children and are here to help. Call to schedule an initial appointment. Our staff with provide you with the necessary checklists to gather information from you and your child’s teacher, which is a integral part of the overall assessment.

Tools and Resources

CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) is an excellent resource families affected by ADHD. There is a wealth of information on-line to help you learn more about ADHD and to help you advocate for you child in school.

Visit CHADD and the ADHD Checklists (Vanderbilt forms for Teachers and Parents) 

Parent Support Group at Dundalk Pediatrics


Dundalk Pediatrics offers a FREE parent/caregiver support group. We meet the second Thursday of each month (7pm – 8:30pm) to share our challenges and discuss strategies to help each other be better parents and advocates for our children. The discussion is led by Dr. Diana Fertsch and meetings are held in our office waiting area. This invitation is not just for the existing patients of DPA but is open to anyone from the community. For more information call 410-284-1133.  A light snack will be provided.  Please watch our Facebook page for updates!