What is ADHD
ADHD stands for Attention deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Children with ADHD find it hard to concentrate, can act without thinking and may be overactive. ADHD can be further subdivided into mainly inattentive, mainly hyperactive or combined type ADHD.
ADHD is an actual condition and if diagnosed appropriately and found to be in the moderate to severe range would tend to benefit from stimulant or non-stimulant medication.
ADHD is a multi-factorial condition meaning it is caused by both genetic and environmental factors and is nobody’s fault. Too much sugar, video games or parenting issues do not cause ADHD but may not be helpful in managing associated behavioural issues.
Inattentive children tend to be easily distracted, drift from one activity to another and get bored quickly. They may appear to not listen. Tasks take longer to initiate and complete causing problems with school work and homework. This is a core symptom of ADHD and in its absence we tend not to make a diagnosis of ADHD.
These children appear to be moving all the time as if they can’t stay still. Even seated they squirm, fidget and get up and down. Staying seated at school or mealtimes may be difficult. This tends to improve with time but even adults with ADHD can be restless.
Impulsive children tend not to have a pause button and often do not stop to think before they act. This can lead to them being accident prone, doing dangerous things and getting into trouble for interrupting, messing around and touching things they aren’t meant to. This is out of proportion for their developmental age.
HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE ADHD?
We are very careful about making a diagnosis of ADHD and strictly follow NICE guidelines for assessment and management. A detailed history of the child’s problems, presentation at home/school and other settings as well as Conners 3 Questionnaires to school and parent with liaison with teachers if necessary and physical examination is carried out at clinic.
Using all of this information plus our clinical judgement the child’s symptoms are then checked along with DSM V criteria to see if they meet criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.
A child-centred plan of management is then discussed with parents and advice can be provided for school if parents so wish.
Medication options and Behavioural strategies will be discussed as well as onward referral to appropriate support groups for parents/children. Medication can be commenced at Clinic if this is deemed appropriate by doctor and parents with referral into NHS services for ongoing review of medication.
www.addni.net – a voluntary organisation based in Belfast offering support for families with an ADHD diagnosis there are counselling services for young people, art therapy groups and workshops for parents providing practical advice.
www.addiss.co.uk – useful advice for parents and young people with ADHD as well as signposting to other useful services
www.parentingni.org – a leading organisation in Northern Ireland offering free advice/support for parents experiencing a range of parenting difficulties including issues related to ASD or ADHD. They run a number of courses annually such as “walking on eggshells” where aggression towards parents is discussed and managed. is another useful organisation providing therapeutic counselling for couples and families.
www.newlifecounselling.net- a voluntary organisation that provides counselling services for young people with a range of difficulties and can outreach into schools if it is deemed more appropriate to deliver in that setting.
Dr Cristopher Green – understanding ADHD – available on amazon providing practical description of ADHD, associated conditions and practical management strategies in easy to understand language. Dr Green is an Australian Paediatrician who was born in Northern Ireland .
Im not bad im just mad: a workbook to help kids control their anger – Lawrence Shapiro
1,2, 3 magic – effect discipline for children 2-12 by Thomas phelan – a very helpful book with simple advice that really works