When kids have behavior and attention issues in school, the first explanation that comes to mind is often ADHD. But exposure to trauma can also cause symptoms that look like ADHD. And trauma is often overlooked when kids are misdiagnosed with ADHD.
Children with ADHD can be fidgety (always getting out of their seats), distracted (not paying attention to the teacher), and disruptive in class. Kids who have had a traumatic experience – or repeated exposure to violence or abuse – do some of the same things. They are unusually sensitive to signs of danger or threat, which can cause them to be jumpy and unable to settle down. They may see people as out to get them, so are prone to lashing out. They may also have intrusive thoughts about traumatic events they’ve experienced, and that can make kids look spacey and distracted.