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Understanding your child’s ADHD

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Understanding your child’s ADHD

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There are three main qualities of a person with ADHD:  

  • Hyperactivity – having a lot of energy, so they tend to move around and fidget. 
  • Impulsivity- acting without thinking and not thinking of consequences.  
  • Inattention- struggling to concentrate and can have a poor memory. 

What causes ADHD  

ADHD is often caused by genetics. You or your partner do not have to have ADHD to have a child with ADHD but both your genes coming together can result in ADHD in your child. ADHD is NOT caused by poor parenting or poor diet.  

Getting an assessment and diagnosis for ADHD  

First, speak to your child’s school to see if behaviour at home is the same as behaviour in school.   

Ask their teacher if your child has trouble with learning and remembering what they have learnt in school. This should help to create a picture of how your child is coping with learning inside and outside school.  

After speaking to your child’s teacher, your next step can be to request a meeting with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo) to get more information from them 

In this process the key questions to ask are: 

  • Is my child paying attention in class? 
  • Are they delayed in their learning? 
  • Are they forgetful? 
  • Can they be restless when having to sit still?  
  • Do they appear tired when learning? 
  • Have any of these difficulties been happening for more than six months 

Ensure your child’s needs are known by those around them to make sure they are getting the support they need when you are not with them. This will help to put your mind at ease knowing your child’s needs are being met.  

ADHD and emotional development 

A child with ADHD can seem to develop slower than others their age. Their brains develop at a slower pace so they can appear immature.  

Children with ADHD can appear very sensitive and easily upset. They will often seek comfort and reassurance by seeking affection and closeness to parents.  

Children with ADHD often struggle making and maintaining friendships. They experience difficulty with taking turns and can be impatient and easily frustrated.  

Sporting groups and activity groups such as scouts, cadets and outdoor activity clubs can help children with ADHD to learn friendship skills.   

How to treat ADHD: Some simple steps for you to take 

  • Nutrition and Diet – regular meals can benefit your child in maintaining their energy levels. A balanced diet is best, with lots of fruit and vegetables to keep them going.  
  • Exercise – regular daily exercise helps to regulate ADHD by reducing anxiety and lifting their mood. 
  • Sleep – a regular sleep routine with similar waking up times and sleep times will help with poor sleep. 
  • ADHD medication is also an option and you can find out more by speaking to your GP. 

Quick tips for your ADHD journey 

  • Be informed – learn as much as you can about ADHD to understand what your child needs. 
  • Keep a record of every meeting and appointment – this will help you by having reminders of what has been talked about in relation to your child.  
  • Focus on positives – recognise things they are good at to improve their self-esteem.  
  • Celebrate your child’s achievements and progress – praise whenever you can. 
  • Allow yourself time to process your child being diagnosed with ADHD and remember it is not because of poor parenting that they have ADHD.  

This is a summary of a Parent and Carer workbook written by ADHD Foundation. You can find more information from ADHD Foundation here.

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