If you have a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) this means that you can struggle with paying attention, have high levels of energy and react quickly to things. This can get in the way of everyday life such as school, hobbies and making friends, although how much it affects someone can vary from person to person.
Tasks such as sitting still, concentrating and following instructions are much harder for people with ADHD as they often feel restless or fidgety, can be easily distracted and can talk a lot, which makes activities such as school lessons and doing homework even more difficult.
People with ADHD can sometimes find it harder in social situations such as making friends or playing games as they can find it hard to follow conversations, wait for things and take turns. Sometimes people with ADHD also have difficulties with getting to and staying asleep.
ADHD is a result of the brain being wired slightly differently to people who do not have ADHD. Although there is no cure for ADHD, the difficulties experienced, such as high energy levels, difficulties concentrating and reacting quickly, can be helped and managed in many ways including receiving extra support in school, learning techniques and strategies to help you cope and sometimes taking medication.
The most important thing to know is that having ADHD is not your fault and is not a bad thing. People who have ADHD are just as talented as those without ADHD. In fact it is reported that some of the world’s most successful people have diagnoses of ADHD including; Justin Timberlake (singer), Jamie Oliver (chef), Will Smith (actor), Michael Phelps (Olympic swimmer), Emma Watson (actress) and Richard Branson (entrepreneur and owner of the Virgin brand) to name just a few!
There are lots of strategies and techniques that you, your parents, carers and teachers can use to help you cope and manage with the things you find difficult. So it is important to make sure that those involved in teaching or supporting you are aware that you have ADHD. You can find suggestions of techniques and strategies that might help on the website link below and using the free organisation and planning apps listed below.
As remembering, being organised and planning your day can be one of the hardest things to do and this often makes school difficult, it is a good idea to make notes or reminders and set alarms on your phone of important things that you need to remember. Try to be organised and plan ahead what you will need for each day. It may be helpful to let others help you with doing this. Having a familiar routine will also make it easier for you to remember what you have to do and what you might need with you.
If you have been given a diagnosis and have been prescribed medication to help you there is a really useful website called HeadMeds which can give you lots of information and advice.
Coping/needs for support; These are experiences that most young people will have from time to time
Type and nature of worry
Children and young people to go through phases where they are restless and inattentive. These difficulties can be short term, have no long term impact on daily functioning at home and at school. These difficulties are often completely normal and do not necessarily mean the young person / child has ADHD. These difficulties can be managed with consistent parenting approaches, the love and support of parents / carers and good home school communication.
What you might see or a young person might report
Things to try, support and Next Steps
Needs help; These are challenges that some young people experience and may need some support with.
The degree to which a young person struggles with attention; hyperactivity and impulsivity are persisting and may be having a longer term impact on daily functioning at home and at school
As well as the steps in Green and Amber the following might be helpful:
Needs Specialist Treatment or a Crisis Response; These are difficulties that cause a significant impact and a young person may need specialist support.
When a young person has a significant amount of features usually associated with ADHD, which have been present since childhood and are problematic across all environments such as at home and at school, it might be worth considering an ADHD assessment. You would consider this when these difficulties with attention, activity and impulsivity are severe and enduring, are causing significant disruption to a young person and are significantly disrupting daily life such as school/ college and socialising. Despite trying advice in the green and amber stages, the young person still experiences ongoing difficulties. The young person may be failing to meet expected academic levels due to poor concentration.
Some children with ADHD also have other mental health difficulties like any other young person might. If this is the case they may benefit from some therapeutic intervention for this. Some children with ADHD might have specific learning difficulties (assessed by school and / or Educational Psychology Services and / or Paediatricians) and social communication problems which may need further consideration as well as an ADHD assessment.
As well as the features in Green and Amber, the following might also be present (this list is not exhaustive):
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Video description: What is ADHD - credit Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics
Video description: What is Wrong With Me? An ADHD Story- credit Jenna Boyd
Video description: Let Me Be Your Camera - Understanding ADHD - credit ADHDPerkinsHow to support a young person who may have ADHD
Video description: How to support a young person who may have ADHD