“Attention disorders are characterised by a combination of symptoms relating to inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. ”

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Often misunderstood, ADHD can have a significant negative impact on a child’s academic, social and general functioning. Children who have ADHD may exhibit some or all of these symptoms. Symptoms may be minimal or even absent if the child is in novel or interesting settings, or completing novel or interesting tasks, and when working one on one. If the child’s area of difficulty relates to significant problems with Inattention, then the child may have the predominantly Inattentive presentation of ADHD. This disorder was previously known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Key features of ADHD


Inattention is a hallmark indicator of ADHD. Signs of inattention include having trouble following directions because they miss key pieces of information, tiring easily from trying so hard to pay attention, lack of attention to detail and failing to correct simple mistakes. Children with attention problems may seem to daydream a lot, and can be forgetful and disorganised. They may also be very easily distracted – anything children with ADHD can see, hear or feel can make them lose focus on what they are supposed to be doing.


Children with reduced impulse control can be impatient and persistent. They may interrupt others, talk excessively and have difficulty regulating their emotions. They might engage in risky behaviour because they don’t think before acting and have trouble considering the consequences of their actions.


Children often seem “hyper” because they are constantly moving and overactive. They may touch and play with items, fidget in their seat or wander off when they’re expected to remain seated.

Assessment and Diagnosis

ADHD is diagnosed through the use of a range of assessments and information gathering. This is completed in a comprehensive process that includes psychometric testing. Once diagnosed, ADHD is a condition that can be effectively treated through a variety of intervention strategies. Approximately 1/3 of children with ADHD also have learning problems or learning disorders so learning ability/ difficulties may need to be assessed as well.

“Attention disorders are characterised by a combination of symptoms relating to inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. In some forms of ADHD, not all of these symptoms are present. For example, some children with predominantly inattentive symptoms do not always display hyperactivity and/or impulsivity.”