Specialist in Developmental Behavioural Paediatrics

ADHD:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

ADHD is a 'neurodevelopmental' disorder, which is a disorder of brain function. With understanding, care and medical treatment ADHD can be successfully managed.

Children with ADHD experience the following difficulties:

  • Inattention – having difficulty concentrating, forgetting instructions, moving from one task to another without completing anything, distractibility
  • Impulsivity – talking over the top of others, having a ‘short temper’, being accident prone
  • Hyperactivity – constant restlessness and fidgeting.

Diagnosing ADHD

ADHD is not straightforward to diagnose. A paediatrician, child psychologist or child psychiatrist can make the assessment . Diagnosis of ADHD can be made only after making a detailed assessment – there is no single test. A  range of information, especially from parents and the child's school need to be collected. The symptoms of ADHD must be obvious in most areas of the child’s life. The assessment can include a developmental history of the child’s past behaviours, history of trauma or illness, relationships and family. A variety of standardised and validated tools, scales and criteria may be used when diagnosing ADHD.

Management:

There are a number of ways to help reduce your child's ADHD symptoms. These include:

  • medication – ADHD medications can reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve a child's ability to focus, work, and learn
  • psychotherapies such as behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy
  • counselling – for child and other family members. 

Parents of children with ADHD may find that they benefit from:

  • parenting skills training
  • learning some stress management techniques