Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that can cause lack of attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. A person can also have an attention deficit without hyperactivity.

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The signs of ADHD 

The signs of ADHD may be spotted in pre-school children, but they are usually more noticeable when your child starts school.  Health assessments for ADHD are unlikely to be carried out until your child starts school.

All children with ADHD are different and will display individual behaviour patterns, each with their own degree of severity. Many will display some if not all of the following:  

Inattention:  Your child can be easily distracted. They may quickly change from doing one thing to another and forget instructions. Some children can be distant and dreamy at times and have a poor short-term memory.

Impulsiveness: Your child may speak or act inappropriately or without thinking at times. They may have a tendency to get angry quickly, leading to temper tantrums.

Over-activity/hyperactivity: Your child may be restless and fidgety, perhaps constantly tapping their foot or fiddling with their fingers. They may seem unable to sit still.

Insatiability: Your child appears to go on and on about a certain subject. They can try to intrude or take over a conversation.

Social clumsiness: Your child might not seem to quite 'fit' in with others around them and can act silly when in a group. They can also be overpowering and bossy, wanting to be the centre of attention.

Poor co-ordination:  Your child may be clumsy and appear awkward in their movements. They could have difficulty doing two or more actions at the same time and will probably produce untidy written work.

Disorganisation: Your child may be unaware of mess and organisation which can cause them problems in structuring their school work.  They may find homework and projects difficult to start.

Variability: Your child can have severe mood swings and be very volatile. They can have good and bad days with no real explanation. 

Seeking advice or referral for assessment 

Learning how to support your child with ADHD will help equip you to understand your child/young person better, there are many books available on this subject and useful information listed within this information article. Another important factor is the communication between education settings and parents so that education can understand the needs of your child and can put appropriate support and strategies in place.

Mind You the council’s young people well-being website has local information about ADHD 

Adults with possible ADHD   

Adults with possible ADHD will initially speak to their GP first. The GP will make referrals to the Bristol ADHD clinic for further assessment.  

Further support and information 

South Glos Parent Carers run peer to peer support for families and run information workshops

For support for Parent Carers there is an ADHD support group based in Keynsham. Details can be found on their facebook page.

NHS website has information about ADHD and how to get help. 

ADDISS -The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service, provides information and support.  

ADDers also have information and recommended reading for the child or adult with ADHD/ADD, as well as their parents or the people working with them.  

Bristol Adults ADHD support - support group if you are an adult with ADHD

ADHD Foundation   - Advice and support

Young Minds – Anger, emotions and ADHD & parent helpline

ADHD Uk – useful videos, offering information and tips

ADHD Parenting Course: Short webinar/face to face session run by Specialist Neurodevelopmental Nurses. Parent only referral for families of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD and are under the care of the Community Paediatric service or CAMHS. To register, email and provide your child’s details.