What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect children as young as 4 years old and is often diagnosed in teenagers up to the age of 17. In recent times there is also an increasing number of adults who are being diagnosed with ADHD.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder presents as having a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity- impulsivity that interferes with function or development. Individuals with ADHD will mostly commonly have three behavioural indicators-

  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsiveness

Those diagnosed with ADHD may find it difficult to make use of their abilities to full capacity. So what is ADHD and what areas may individuals experience challenges in?

Inattention

  • Difficulty with concentration
  • May forget instructions or have difficulty following the instruction
  • May possibly move from one task to another without finishing the first
  • May appear not to listen to others
  • Can have a short attention span
  • May have poor short term memory
  • Can often appear detached

Hyperactivity

  • Restlessness, inability to settle, a need to always be in motion
  • Constant fidgeting, tapping, making noises
  • Appears restless and distracted
  • May talk excessively
  • Can seem unable to relax
  • Presents in a chaotic manner

Impulsiveness

  • May lose control of emotions easily
  • May talk over the top of others and possibly be unaware of doing this
  • Can be impatient and easily excitable
  • Can appear anxious, agitated
  • Can be very emotional, defiant and irrational
  • Can easily become angry and aggressive

Due to the challenges these three areas create, it is most likely that those with ADHD will also present with difficulties in one or more of the following areas:

Social 

  • Difficulty in forming and maintaining friendships
  • Difficulty internalising and complying with the socially accepted codes of behaviour which could lead to conflict and confrontation

Learning

  • Inability to stay on task which could lead to poor academic performance
  • Difficulty with reading and spelling, and possibly mathematics
  • Difficulty with organisation and time management

Physical

  • Difficulties in falling asleep, restless sleep or difficulty staying asleep

When considering all of this information it is important to remember that all young children have varying attention spans and sometimes do things without thinking.  Not all individuals who are impulsive, lack attention and are overactive will have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If you suspect a child, teenager or adult does have ADHD they will require support and structure to assist them to manage family, school and work life.

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