ADD/ADHD – Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
Article by Angie Curwen - 4th September 2023
ADHD is today a recognisable term, one that a lot more people have heard of and have at least some limited understanding. Children that were once thought of as naughty and difficult are more likely now to be assessed to see if they are neurodivergent and indeed have ADHD. There is also more treatment and available guidance on how to help children to gain focus that they have struggled with to enable them to learn at school and to function in social situations.
There is also a lot more recognition that adults who have struggled all their life with being able to keep their focus to complete school work or listen long enough during class to learn concepts may have ADHD and adults can also get a diagnosis, treatment with medication and guidance and coaching to help them to achieve their goals and live their best life.
Information on the NHS website Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Diagnosis - NHS (www.nhs.uk) suggests that the first step in achieving a diagnosis is to visit your GP. There is quite a long journey from this first visit to getting a diagnosis and an understanding of what treatment may be available to help with focus in both educational, work and social situations.
Children with ADHD often present as impulsive, fearless and chaotic which can make life difficult for carers. As children with ADHD cannot help this type of behaviour it may be useful to have clear plans for day to day routines like getting to and from school and one-off activities such as days out. Try to give clear and detailed instructions, for example rather than asking a child to tidy up it would be easier for them to understand if you are specific and ask them to pick up all their toys from the floor and put them back in the toy box.
Re-stating boundaries and keeping these at the forefront can be exhausting, however it is important to remain positive and provide unconditional positive regard even when a child has not been able to manage to keep to all boundaries, to find something to recognise that they have achieved. This is vital to help the child to develop self-esteem, self-belief and self-confidence.
As an adult a diagnosis can be a relief that there is a reason why they have not been able to focus at school and may have been labelled lazy or careless. Untreated ADHD in Adults can cause mental health problems, difficulties in social, work and educational situations. It can however be difficult to access diagnosis and treatment. Help can be found on the NHS website and on the AADD-UK website.
The NHS website suggests reading about living with ADHD on the AADD-UK website AADD-UK | The site for and by adults with ADHD (aadduk.org) where there is also a list of support groups across the UK.
Another international information site that may be useful is ADDitude - ADD & ADHD Symptom Tests, Signs, Treatment, Support (additudemag.com)