ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder, affecting one in 20 Australians. However it is frequently misunderstood and there continues to be lots of myths surrounding ADHD that cause pain and perpetuate stigma.
The aim of ADHD month is to disseminate reliable information, generate awareness and empower those living with ADHD.
What ADHD is
Key features of ADHD include inattention, distractibility, impulsivity and hyperactivity, which are frequently accompanied by emotional self-regulation challenges.
There is no known single cause for ADHD, but rather it is thought to originate from a mixture of genetic and environmental risk factors. ADHD affects the chemical makeup and brain’s structure and processes including executive functioning. For example, those with ADHD may struggle with tasks such as organisation, planning and managing emotions which can make daily school life difficult.
It is important for people to understand that ADHD isn’t a matter of laziness or poor willpower as behaviours stem from neurological differences. Many people with ADHD are often trying as hard as they can to keep focus and control their impulses.
For a long time, people thought that children grew out of ADHD and that only boys were affected. However, we know now that ADHD can continue into adulthood and can affect females and males of all IQs and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
No matter at what age people are diagnosed, evidence-based treatment and support are available to make symptoms easier, so people with ADHD can embrace their strengths and interests and reach their full potential.
If you have concerns that your daughter has ADHD, make an appointment with your general practitioner (GP). Your GP will conduct an initial assessment and if they suspect ADHD, will write a referral to a specialist such as a paediatrician or psychologist who can diagnose the disorder.
by Elise Petith, Junior School Counsellor