1

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioural disorders affecting school-age children and adolescents. Although there is a decline of symptoms with age, they often carry on into adulthood when left to develop without professional help. ADHD is often mistakingly assumed to be a problem effecting young boys, however it affects both sexes, and the symptoms present differently for each individual. The impact of ADHD can extend to all aspects of a child’s life, affecting not only their ability to learn at school, but also disrupting their home life, and social skills. The symptoms generally start to occur during childhood, however they often carry on into adulthood as well, particularly when left without help. Therefore, treatment is vital to help your child to learn to manage their ADHD in order to thrive later in life.

Symptoms of ADHD vary. Some children with ADHD have problems with attention, while others may display hyperactivity. You may identify all, or just a few of the behaviours below in your child.

Children with ADHD may experience problems with attention. Have you noticed any of the following in your child?

  • Becoming upset or annoyed when forced to focus on a task
  • Becoming bored with a task easily – jumping from one activity to the next
  • Not listening, even though your child has normal hearing
  • Losing items such as homework or toys
  • Not focusing in class and being labelled as disruptive
  • Not following instructions
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Easily distracted
  • Day dreaming

They also may experience hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, which include:

  • Fidgeting and constantly needing to play with something
  • Non-stop talking
  • Running around or moving in situations where it is inappropriate
  • Being impatient
  • Interrupting conversations
  • Acting before thinking

The diagnosis of a child with ADHD brings with it many struggles and difficulties within the parent relationship and wider family unit (including self-blame and inability to cope with extra demands). If you are a parent with a child diagnosed with ADHD, and are having difficulty staying positive, and establishing structure, you may also need to seek support from one of our psychologists.

However, the problems described above may not necessarily mean your child has ADHD. If you child is struggling with some of the behaviours listed, it is important to see a practitioner as soon as possible to explore other possibilities and find help for your child. Regardless of whether your child has ADHD, the concerns listed above could have a significant effect on your child’s learning, self-esteem, and ability to make friends. The earlier you address your child’s problems, the more likely they are to persevere in life.

Our practitioners may help by:

  • Making changes to your parenting style to cater to your child’s needs
  • Improving your organisational habits
  • Developing a behaviour management plan
  • Managing your stress and anxiety as a parent
  • Providing you with strategies on how to cope with extra demands

Assessments:

If you think your child may have ADHD but they have never received a diagnosis, an assessment with a qualified practitioner is recommended. VCPS has practitioners that specialise in conducting these assessments, which take into account home, social and school setting behaviours with rating forms for parents, teachers and youth. The results assist in developing informed intervention and treatment strategies.