ADHD (Primary School)
Could my child have ADHD?
ADHD is the commonest behaviour disorder in children. Children may struggle to concentrate, cannot control their behaviour and often seem to have too much energy. Parents often notice that their child has less of a sense of danger than other children their age. Symptoms usually become obvious in early childhood around 3-8 years old, but there is also a huge overlap with normal behaviour, as being very active and impulsive are common in this age group. Children who are going through a disruptive time such as moving house, divorce or have had a recent stressful event may also display similar symptoms but these often improve over time.
What about ADHD rating scales?
There are various rating scales available on-line such as the Conner's scales or the SNAP-IV scale but these need to be used with a proper clinical assessment to be really useful as they can be misleading on their own. Parent questionnaires exist in short forms and longer forms.
- The short Conners form is available here and the short SNAP-IV form here but the longer forms are usually sent to you together with a teacher's questionnaire if your child has been referred for assessment. In some children (often girls) there may not be obvious symptoms of being hyperactive but they do struggle to focus, get organised or complete tasks. The short forms might be useful to do when you go to see your GP and could be sent with a referral if appropriate.
Video. ADHD: ' It's my superpower' ( BBC )
My child has ADHD and I want to know more
ADHD can be very difficult for children and their parents as children may be seen as naughty or out of control. However there are many ways to help your child once the diagnosis has been made. These include behavioural treatment, medication, counselling and special educational support in school. Not all children need medication and for those that do, they may only need to use it for school. Many adults with ADHD can learn coping strategies as they get older and may be able to stop medication if they were using it when they were younger.
Books for Parents
Books for young people
- All Dogs Have ADHD by Kathy Hoopman. A great book with photographs of dogs which are used to explain common symptoms of ADHD with humour and sensitivity. It also focuses on some of the positives of this diagnosis and describes some coping mechanisms.
- Can I tell you about ADHD? A Guide for friends, family and professionals by Susan Yarney. A short book written for children with ADHD with a well-written section at the back for parents.
- Check Mates by Stewart Foster A story about ADHD, family and friendship, highly rated by parents and young people. Suitable for 9-10+ yrs and older. Also available in your local library as part of the Reading Well scheme.
- Cory Stories: A Kid's Book About Living with ADHD by Jeanne Kraus, Written for younger children, good reviews. Gives a more positive view on ADHD than some books with several short stories.
- The Survival Guide for Kids with ADHD by John Taylor. American but mostly relevant to the UK with good reviews. Age 8-10yrs. Funny as well as informative with quiz sections
- Mentalhealth.org A downloadable booklet about ADHD in children designed for parents, adults living with ADHD and friends or carers. It contains some quotes from parents about how ADHD affected them. Lots of practical advice on ways parents can help communicate with their child as well as what medication can be used. There is also information on how schools can help.
- YoungMinds This is a much briefer summary of ADHD but contains information on medication and what you should be offered. It also has a good list of contacts for you and also for young people.
- ADDIS (The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service)
Provides information and resources about ADHD and the variety of approaches that can help including behavioural therapy, medication, individual counselling, and special education provision. Also can link you to local support.
- Hyperactive Children’s Support Group
Helps hyperactive/ADHD children and their families, providing information particularly regarding hyperactivity and diet.
- Excellent Australian Podcast about sleep in children with an episode on "Sleeping with autism and ADHD" . Find it by clicking on this link : PodCastOne : Sleep