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What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Updated: Feb 17

ADHD affects one in 20 children in Australia and research suggests it is just as common in girls as it is in boys. ADHD tends to run in families and a child with ADHD has a one in four chance of having at least one parent who has it.


The key characteristics of ADHD are difficulty with focus, impulsivity and hyperactivity. ADHD has three kinds of presentation in children - predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and a combined presentation. Children with ADHD have trouble with the management system of their brains which is referred to as executive function. A child with ADHD often has difficulties with the following:

· Managing time

· Getting and staying organized

· Regulating emotions

· Setting priorities

· Planning

· Paying attention and remembering things

· Shifting focus from one thing to another

· Getting started on and finishing tasks

· Thinking before saying or doing things

Interestingly, children with ADHD can also be prone to what’s called ‘hyperfocussing’. This means they can become very focussed on tasks or activities they find interesting. This is often the case where a child can focus for long time periods on a construction task such as Lego or when playing a video game such as Minecraft.

ADHD is not caused by a lack of discipline, laziness or willpower. If diagnosed early and managed with appropriate support, children with ADHD can flourish in school and in life. In fact, children with ADHD are often outside-the-box thinkers and studies have demonstrated that the symptoms of ADHD foster important traits associated with entrepreneurship. Bill Gates and Richard Branson are two successful entrepreneurs with an ADHD diagnosis.

ADHD often co-exists with other disorders. Almost 50 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD also have a learning disorder such as dyslexia. Undertaking a psychological assessment can help better understand how attentional disorders are impacting your child. It can also identify if any learning difficulties or learning disorders are present.

Butterfly Psychology for Kids can conduct a comprehensive assessment to investigate if a child is presenting with ADHD symptoms and liaise with the developmental paediatrician as part of the diagnostic process.

Source: Understood Org: What is ADHD?

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