People who suffer from ADHD can be very funny, good at sports and loving - however they can also be a big challenge 

Boy and teacher in school

Children and young people with ADHD can often be a big challenge for their parents, siblings at home, teachers, friends at school, college or work.

ADHD symptoms

Children and young people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) are ‘on the go’ most of the time and feel uncomfortable or unable to be still. They struggle getting started with their work or even with simple tasks, they find it hard to concentrate, easily get side-tracked or bored, and find it impossible to remain in their seats for any lengths of time. People with ADHD may talk excessively, interrupt others or have difficulties waiting for their turn.

ADHD is a ‘neurodevelopmental disorder’. This means that:

  • The front part of the brain, which helps children and young people to pay attention, learn and remember (new) information and also helps to regulate activity levels, isn’t as well developed as it might be in others.
  • As our brain develops and matures up to the age of 25, many children, young people and young adults can ‘grow out’ of this disorder by gradually learning to sit and pay attention for longer periods of time, and by getting better in planning things and working or playing together with others.

ADHD diagnosis

ADHD is a combination of two things: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Hyperactivity or Hyperkinetic Disorder (HD). Generally, people who have researched ADHD have found that found that:

  • Sometimes a young person may look like they have ADHD, but actually it maybe something different causing those difficulties which needs supporting in a slightly different way (eg sensory, trauma or attachment difficulties). 
  • It is important to assess children presenting with ADHD’s symptoms properly, as hyperactivity symptoms and attention problems can also be triggered by other mental health or learning problems.
  • Most children with HD have also ADD and then receive a diagnosis of ADHD. However, some children with ADD are not hyperactive and so should only have the diagnosis of ADD.
  • If they do not get the right help many children with ADHD also show significant behaviour problems at home and in school, which often triggers critical responses from others such as parents and teachers. These responses are well intended, but not always very useful as the criticism does not recognise what those with ADHD may have trouble doing.

ADHD Support and Tips

  • Build on your strengths: For example, lots of exercise will provide you with an outlet for extra energy and will also enhance your self-esteem.
  • Identify your personal ADHD weaknesses: You can try exploring this for yourself, but it might be easier to make a list of things you may have trouble doing with a parent, a friend, a teacher, a therapist, a specialist nurse or doctor.
  • Ask for a specialist assessment, if you or your parent or partner feel you have ADD or ADHD: If you receive a diagnosis, you might be offered behaviour therapy or CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) and/or a Parenting Program with particular focus on how parents and others can help children and young people with ADHD. You may also be offered a special type of medication known as a stimulant medication, which helps in many cases but not all.
  • Skills-based approach: Stimulant medication can help children and young people to remain quietly seated and concentrate on their work in school and at home. However, pills only treat the symptoms of ADHD and do not teach skills such as choosing the right piece of information on which to concentrate, planning and monitoring work, or not talking and acting impulsively.
  • Get a Teacher or Psychological Therapist or Counsellor experienced with helping students with ADHD: Ask them to develop a tailored weekly learning program with you. This program will have a clear structure with built-in frequent and physically active breaks, as well as mindfulness or relaxation exercises. It might also include music (as this stimulates the right-side of our brain) and use of positive language and positive self-talk.
  • Ask your parents to learn about ADHD: This will help them to understand and help you better and be less often cross with you.

Top clips and stories

Top Apps

  • Evernote or any other good note app
  • Calendar apps you can sync with your family
  • Reminder and alarm apps
  • Epic Win: turns chores into an adventure by setting goals (ages 0-12)
  • Tupsu the little furry monster: ideal for when you want to exercise your brain (ages 0-12)

Extra information

Local services