ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a common behavioural disorder in children and young people. It usually starts in early childhood with the core behaviours of ADHD typically present from before the age of 7 years and symptoms sometimes persisting into adulthood. ADHD is a well-defined and widely accepted medical condition consisting of three key symptoms:  

  • inattention - the child cannot concentrate, skips from task to task, forgets instructions and is disorganised
  • hyperactivity – the child is restless, fidgety and always fiddling, touching things, runs about and can’t sit still
  • impulsiveness – the child speaks and acts without thinking and can’t wait their turn. There may be outbursts of temper.

Behaviours cause significant problems not only at school, but also during after school activities and at home. Each individual child has a different mix of symptoms.

Some people do not understand ADHD; do not be put off by this. Talking to other parents can be a source at supported training programmes. ADHD can have a significant impact upon family life and relationships with friends.

Parents of children with ADHD need a great deal of support to help them manage their child’s problems. Parents/carers have to manage the day-to-day challenges of living with a child/young person with ADHD. Parents also have to deal with school problems which are common in these children. Children with ADHD require much more support and guidance than their peers in most of their everyday lives.

ADHD is a full time disorder, requiring full time care. Professionals need to understand the stress and exhaustion that many parents experience. Caring for a child with ADHD can be both difficult and rewarding. It is vital to realise that ADHD is not your child or your fault, it is an illness. Children with ADHD can be creative, good at sports and multi tasking.

Six tips for dealing with ADHD;

  • find out as much as you can
  • make clear rules
  • be positive
  • set routines and boundaries
  • focus on your child’s strengths
  • use reward systems


Leaflet reference: L706
Version: V2
Date last updated: 12 / 2016
Archive date: 12 / 2019

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