ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition which affects around 1:20 children and around 1:50 adults. It is diagnosed if there are significant difficulties in concentration, excess activity levels and impulsivity causing impairment in functioning in more than one setting, usually home and school in children. Some children present with predominantly concentration difficulties only and some are mainly hyperactive and impulsive.
Children and adults with ADHD can have many strengths such as being creative – some are excellent at ‘thinking outside the box’. On the other hand, school failure, anxiety and poor self- esteem are also common if ADHD is not recognised and managed.
Although teachers are becoming more aware of the problem, blaming the parents for the child’s difficulties still happens. When ADHD is diagnosed, many children and adults feel relieved to find out there is a reason for their difficulties.
ADHD is one of the most researched conditions in childhood but, despite a huge effort in trying to understand why some people are affected, there are still no blood tests or brain scans which can be used to check for the condition.
Children and adults with ADHD can benefit from medication which has to be used in conjunction with strategies for teachers, parents and employers. ADHD can often coexist with other conditions such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders, anxiety, depression, learning difficulties, speech and language problems and behaviour difficulties.