Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is estimated to affect one in 20 children, more commonly boys then girls.  It causes poor concentration, continual fidgeting, acting without thinking, talking over other people, losing control of emotions easily and being accident prone.  
It affects learning and social situations, and can have a big impact on how families function.  It is important to know that ADHD is NOT caused by poor parenting.  It does tend to run in families, so genetics are thought to play a role. 
Concentration and emotional regulation are skills that most children develop with time.  Lots of other conditions can also look like ADHD, which is why a comprehensive assessment by a Paediatrician is required.

There can sometimes be a wait to get into a paediatrician for diagnosis and management.  This can be frustrating as you want to help your child in the meantime.  Many symptoms are also better managed with behavioural approaches and options other then medication.

Here are some suggestions of what you can discuss with your GP first to see if it is appropriate for your child

  • Focus on the child’s strengths to build self confidence
  • Reward and focus on positive behaviour
  • Management of sleep problems
  • Utilise checklists for getting ready in the morning and for regular activities
  • Hearing and vision check
  • Talk to the classroom teacher around ways to limit distractions in the classroom eg sit at the front, clear instructions, minimal equipment on the desk. This sheet can provide additional ideas for your child’s teacher:

  • Consider the Triple P parenting online course for tips and tricks to help your family and child cope. This is free and can be accessed here:

Happier, healthier, less stressed kids & families | Triple P (

  • Consider What’s the Buzz program
  • Consider an occupational therapy assessment to investigate sensory processing issues.
  • Consider psychology assessment for cognitive assessment to determine if academic expectations for the child are appropriate
  • Consider psychological or counsellor supports for issues of mood, anxiety or stress. Your child may be eligible for a mental health care plan for this.

Information is available via the Raising Children Network.

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