Justice and ADHD - Quality advice based on experience

ADHD, a brief practitioners’ guide to the disorder

ADHD is amongst the most common psychiatric disorders with onset in childhood, although it can, and frequently does persist into adulthood.  The brains of people with ADHD function a little differently from those of people without the condition; the areas of the brain that are affected are those that are responsible for behaviour. The core features of ADHD are therefore behavioural characteristics, specifically:

  • Attention difficulties
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity

The balance of the three symptoms varies from person to person, some children favour hyperactivity, some lean more toward symptoms of attention difficulties.  There was a theory that ADHD was mainly found in boys, but recent science suggests that because boys are more likely to be hyperactive they come to our notice more than girls, who drift off in the classroom and don’t get ‘in the face’ of teachers and other adults working with them. 

ADHD is commonly diagnosed through a series of behavioural observations; there is no simple blood test.  This gives rise to great debate and some controversy due to a number of contributory factors.  There is ongoing discussion and disagreement about the most appropriate diagnostic criteria for the disorder and this is compounded by the fact that two different ‘tools’ can be used.

We often use simple images to explain various aspects of ADHD , such as for the more hyperactive type, they have lots of ‘GO’ signs in the way they think and function and few STOP signs:

Or a clock face to represent the reduced ability to manage time effectively, keep appointments and manage a diary. 

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