What about ADHD?

Wondering if you have ADHD? Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to maintain focus or pay attention), hyperactivity (having lot of energy and needing to move excessively) and impulsivity (acting without thinking in the moment). But an actual diagnosis needs to come from health professionals, including a paediatrican.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental (neurological) disorder. It is more common in children, with around 8% of children having an ADHD diagnosis, compared to 2.5% of adults. It impacts on the brain’s executive functioning development – including memory, attention, regulation, organisation, and time management.

ADHD can lead to poor self-esteem and social isolation if not treated, either with behavioural strategies or medication. It can also impact on school achievement – not being able to focus, follow through on due dates, trouble keeping friends due to impulsive behaviours, or being ‘disruptive’ in the classroom can all contribute to poor school outcomes.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

Symptoms include inattention (not being able to maintain focus or attention), hyperactivity (having lot of energy and needing to move excessively) and impulsivity (acting without thinking in the moment). If you find yourself or your children struggling at school, you might ask “Do I have ADHD?”

However, an actual diagnosis of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder needs to come from a registered paediatrician. This is done through observations. It also includes collecting data from surveys conducted by teachers and parents, who consider how frequently different behaviours occur over a period of time. It can be important to record if behaviours are relatively constant over time – it is looking for longer-term patterns that aren’t associated with typical age-appropriate development, not just an single excitable day.

Surveys may ask for parents/teachers to reflect on how often behaviours occur, in the two broad categories of inattentive and hyperactive.

For inattentive-type ADHD, behaviours may include:


  • doesn’t pay attention to details in school work
  • makes careless mistakes in school work
  • has difficulty maintaining attention in tasks
  • doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
  • doesn’t seem to listen to instructions
  • doesn’t finish work on time
  • avoids tasks that require lots of mental effort
  • loses things often
  • forgets things

For hyperactive-type ADHD, behaviours may include:


  • fidgets with hands or feet
  • can’t sit still in a seat
  • leaves their seat and wanders around
  • is constant moving such as running or climbing when it’s not appropriate
  • can’t play quietly
  • is always “on the go”
  • talks constantly
  • blurts out answers
  • talks out of turn
  • has difficulty waiting for their turn
  • interrupts others

For a combination inattentive/hyperactive type, there will be behaviours from both categories.

What are some behavioural strategies?

Behavioural strategies for supporting children with ADHD may focus on changing the:

  • environment – making it easier to do things or remember things by changing the environment, such as putting reminders, alarms, notes, sticky notes, colour coded organisation, or using technology or other adaptive supports (like wobble chairs or fidgets)
  • task – reducing the number of demands, scaffolding or chunking tasks, setting mini-due dates for checking in on assessments, reducing the amount of verbal instruction and using written/images to support dual-coded requests
  • person – practicing time estimations, building in a sensory/activity diet, developing personalised strategies to support remembering or organisation that make things (like time) visible and external

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We also love the ‘How to ADHD‘ channel on youtube.

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