ADHD is a common disorder in children and young people. It usually starts in early childhood with the core behaviours typically presenting from before the age of 7 years and symptoms sometimes persisting into adulthood. ADHD is a well-defined and widely accepted medical condition consisting of three key symptoms:
- Inattention – the child cannot concentrate, skips from task to task, forgets instructions and is disorganised.
- Hyperactivity – the child is restless, fidgety and always fiddling, touching things, runs about and can’t sit still.
- Impulsiveness – the child speaks and acts without thinking and can’t wait their turn. There may be outbursts of temper.
Behaviours cause significant problems not only at school, but also during after school activities and at home. Each individual child has a different mix of symptoms.
ADHD is common; it is reported as many as 1 in 20 children may have ADHD. Some people do not understand ADHD; do not be put off by this. Talking to other parents can be a source at supported training programmes. ADHD can have a significant impact upon family life and relationships with friends.
Parents of children with ADHD need a great deal of support to help them manage their child’s problems. Parents/carers have to manage the day-to-day challenges of living with a child/young person with ADHD. Parents also have to deal with school problems which are common in these children. Children with ADHD require much more support and guidance than their peers in most of their everyday lives.
ADHD is a full time disorder, requiring full time care. Professionals need to understand the stress and exhaustion that many parents experience. Caring for a child with ADHD can be both difficult and rewarding. It is vital to realise that ADHD is not your child or your fault, it is an illness. Children with ADHD can be creative, good at sports and multi-tasking.
Assessment by specialist team
The child and young person will undergo a full and comprehensive assessment of ADHD, this will include:
- A detailed history of presenting symptoms and co-existing conditions
- Current medications and treatments (this will include alternative therapies etc)
- Psychosocial, developmental and educational and mental health history
- Impact of symptoms on educational, psychological, social and occupational functioning
- Impact of symptoms on peer relationships and family life
- Physical/growth and developmental assessment, this may include height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and a discussion around your health
- Observation in clinic settings
- Child/young person’s view
- School liaison – this may include an observation of your child and child’s teacher interview/questionnaires and consideration of relevant accompanying reports e.g. school, educational psychologist,
- Scoring of rating scales and developmental screening tools
- Assessment of the child/young person and family needs
- History of parent/carers’ mental health
Assessment may also include
- Carer’s assessment – this may include an assessment of your needs as a parent or carer.
- Occupational therapy assessment – this may be included depending on needs identified by comprehensive assessment.
Once this information is gathered a formulation meeting will be held with you and all professionals involved in your child’s assessment. This information will be shared with you and an explanation of the conclusion of the assessment and future strategies to support your child.
A cognitive assessment may be completed to assess the learning capacity of your child and highlight the strengths and weaknesses they may have.
Real Life Experience
If you’d like to share your experiences of ADHD as a child or supporting a child with ADHD, email [email protected]