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The key symptoms of ADHD

  • Inattention – the child can’t concentrate, skips from task to task, forgets instructions and is disorganised
  • Hyperactivity – the child is restless, fidgety, always fiddling and touching things
  • Impulsive behaviour – the child speaks and acts without thinking, and can’t wait their turn. There may be outbursts of temper

Of course all children are sometimes inattentive, restless and impulsive. The point about ADHD is that these kinds of behaviour are extreme. They cause significant problems at home and at school, and have been obvious from a young age. Each individual experiences these symptoms in a different way. With some people, inattention is the biggest problem; with others it is hyperactivity and impulsiveness; others show all three.

Many children with ADHD have other issues and difficulties too:

  • Specific learning difficulties, for example problems with maths, reading or spelling
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Clumsiness and lack of co-ordination
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder, where the child deliberately defies parents and teachers
  • Conduct Disorder – the child lies, steals and damages property

You come to dread certain times – picking up from school, going to the supermarket, going to see relatives. Sometimes other parents don’t understand and think that you’re a bad parent.

Sometimes you feel they may be right. However, it is vital to realise that ADHD is not your fault, and not your child’s fault.