Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that’s usually first diagnosed in childhood, but a diagnosis in adolescence or even adulthood is increasingly common, particularly when there are no symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity.

There are 3 ‘types’ of ADHD:

  • ADHD, Inattentive type
  • ADHD, Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
  • ADHD, Combined Type

How Can I Tell If My Child Has ADHD?

Symptoms of ADHD fall into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity.  

Symptoms that may indicate problems with attention are:

  • Trouble paying attention
  • Poor listening skills
  • A resistance to doing tasks that require concentration (e.g. homework)
  • Trouble finishing tasks (easily sidetracked)
  • Careless mistakes in school work
  • Poor organisational skills and chronic lateness
  • Poor memory for detail and forgetfulness

Symptoms of hyperactivity include:

  • Being constantly on the go
  • Fidgeting
  • Not being able to stay seated
  • Non-stop talking

Common signs and symptoms of impulsivity are:

  • Blurting out answers to questions before the other person has finished talking
  • Trouble with turn taking in conversations
  • Impatience
  • Touching objects despite being asked not to
  • Difficulty with turn taking in games

While not necesarily diagnostic features, due to their ADHD symptoms, kids with ADHD also tend to have academic difficulties and trouble making and keeping friendships.

ADHD is challenging, but once you understand it and have a clear understanding of how it affects your child you can start to implement strategies to better manage symptoms.

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

An assessment for ADHD can be done by a paediatrician, a child clinical psychologist, or a child psychiatrist. The assessment will usually involve both a clinical assessment and psychometric testing.  It’s usually best to seek help from your general practitioner or paediatrician first so they can provide you with appropriate specialist referrals.