ADHD is a short way of saying attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Lots of people have ADHD. Having it might mean that you have loads of energy and find it difficult to concentrate or that controlling your actions can be difficult.
In every primary school class there are usually one or two children with ADHD. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do well in life. When people with ADHD are able find something that they’re passionate about, they sometimes can dedicate themselves harder than anyone else could even imagine.
Some of the most successful people in the world had ADHD, here a just a few:
- Walt Disney, The founder of Disneyland and maker of lots of films and cartoons
- Michael Phelps, the swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time
- Justin Timberlake, famous singer and actor
- Will Smith, actor/producer/rapper
- Sir Richard Branson, business mogul
- Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
So you see, having ADHD doesn’t mean that you can’t have an amazing life and do amazing things.
For some people, having ADHD makes them think that they are naughty or lazy or can’t listen. But it doesn’t mean that at all. It doesn’t mean that your parents haven’t brought you up well either. Often ADHD runs in the family and is something that you are born with.
Sometimes treatment can help with ADHD, it can help the brain to focus better, just like wearing glasses can help some people to see better.
Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you definitely have ADHD.
- Difficulty concentrating – this might mean you find it difficult to follow or forget instructions. You might skip from task to task and can be disorganised e.g. forgetting pencil case, bags, books etc.
- This is about feeling restless all the time; fidgety; always fiddling; touching things; finding it difficult to sit still or remain in your seat; feeling like you have lots of energy, wanting to run around.
- Impulsiveness – this might be speaking or acting without thinking or finding it difficult to take turns or to wait your turn. It might also mean losing your temper easily.
Cousins Nathan and Jack both have ADHD and have made a film to tell you what it is like for them. They have done this to help explain ADHD and to let people know what it is like to have the condition.
If your parents or carers or teachers think you might have ADHD they will need to talk to your doctor. Your doctor (GP) can discuss any concerns and if necessary, refer you to a specialist.
If you have ADHD then your school will have someone who will look at the help you need and talk to all your teachers to make sure they are supporting you in the best way in your lessons. This person is called the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
- Childline is a helpline for children to talk about any problems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – call free on 0800 1111 or visit childline.org.uk/get-support
- If you are in an emergency and there is a risk to life (yours or someone else’s) call 999
- To report any concerns about the safety or welfare of a child or young person call 01454 866000
There is more information in the ‘Getting help’ section.
Talk to a parent or carer or another adult you trust.
Your school can also help with your wellbeing – just ask a teacher or another member of staff.
www.adders.org – recommends books about educating children. There are also online games designed especially for young people with ADHD.
ADDISS – The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service. ADDISS provides people-friendly information and resources about ADHD to anyone who needs assistance – parents, sufferers, teachers or health professionals. They can be contacted by:
Phone: 020 8952 2800
- 50 Activities and Games for Kids with ADHD – Patricia O. Quinn
- Attention Girls! A Guide to Learn All About Your AD/HD – Patricia O. Quinn
- A Walk in the Rain with a Brain – Edward Hallowell
- Cory Stories: A Kid’s Book About Living with ADHD – Jeanne Krauss and Whitney Martin
- Eukee the Jumpy Jumpy Elephant – Clifford Corman and Esther Trevino
- Help4ADD@High School: The Book You’ll Want to Read, Even If Your Mom Bought It For You! Kathleen G. Nadeau
- Jumpin’ Johnny Get Back to Work! A Child’s Guide to ADHD/Hyperactivity – Michael Gordon
- Joey Pigza Loses Control -Jack Gantos
- Learning to Slow Down and Pay Attention: A Book for Kids About ADHD – Kathleen G. Nadeau
- Otto Learns About His Medicine: A Story About Medication for Children with ADHD – Matthew Galvin
- Putting on the Brakes: Young People’s Guide to Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
– Patricia O. Quinn and Judith M. Stern