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Special Educational Needs | What is ADHD?

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Does your child get distracted easily? Do they find it hard to sit still for long periods of time? Do they find it hard to concentrate on tasks? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then please read this article to see if your child is displaying symptoms of ADHD.

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What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. ADHD can affect both children and adults. However, most cases are diagnosed when children are 6 to 12 years old.

What is the difference between ADHD and ADD? The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be categorised into two types of behavioural problems: inattentiveness, and hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Most people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, however this is not always the case. Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD, can often go unnoticed as the symptoms may be less obvious. People with ADD may not display signs of hyperactivity. Inattentiveness The main signs of inattentiveness are:

  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted

  • making careless mistakes

  • appearing forgetful or losing things

  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming

  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions

  • constantly changing activity or task

  • having difficulty organising tasks

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings

  • constantly fidgeting

  • being unable to concentrate on tasks

  • excessive physical movement

  • excessive talking

  • being unable to wait their turn

  • acting without thinking

  • interrupting conversations

  • little or no sense of danger

Some of these symptoms can apply to any of us at any one time, but a diagnosis of ADHD would need a positive response to 6 or more of these types of symptoms and for the behaviours to be prevalent for more than 6 months.

Strengths of ADHD

People who have ADHD or ADD also have significant strengths in certain areas. You may be surprised to know that some of the most successful people in the world have been diagnosed with ADHD. Richard Branson, Ryan Gosling and Paris Hilton, are just a few of the celebrities diagnosed with ADHD/ADD.

Strengths of ADHD may include:

  • Innovative

  • Willingness to take risks, adventurous spirit

  • Tenacity and resilience

  • Create connections easily

  • Outgoing

  • Problem solving

  • Spontaneity

  • Resourcefulness

Further Reading:

NHS: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Young Minds: ADHD and Mental Health

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