What is ADHD and why is an ADHD assessment necessary?
Some symptoms might not be pertinent enough to warrant a diagnosis.
Think you or someone you love is in need of an ADHD assessment? Reach out to our specialists at Educational Assessments for help. For now, here’s why it’s good to spot it early: ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition in which there’s a difference in the way the brain has developed and functions. This condition is more common in some families than others and owes a lot to genetics. Research suggests it’s about 75% inherited. That doesn’t mean that if you have five children, they will ALL have ADHD, but if you know it is in your family, you may have more than one child with symptoms. Some symptoms might not be pertinent enough to warrant a diagnosis. Yet, given the associated difficulties, it’s clear that the child will have a tough time. Therefore, allowances should be made.
What do we know about gene research?
It’s not one gene that causes ADHD.
ADHD is also associated with other conditions, and we’ll show you some more about that in a while. ADHD is associated with autism, dyslexia and anxiety, and it is a disability. It can be a bit strange to think of it being a disability when the child seems to be – in many ways – just like everybody else. However, it’s a disability that means that the child may need support to assist them throughout their lifetime. At the end of the day, that’s all that disability support is. It’s about helping people have an equal chance in life.
Are you an adult considering dyslexia testing near me?
Here’s some often overlooked dyslexic traits in the workplace
Terrible at remembering names but can remember a face?
Ever slip and use the wrong word when speaking or writing?
Are you a poor speller who relies on spellcheck when writing?
Do you occasionally use capital letters in the wrong places?
Ever overreact when making mistakes or develop extreme work habits?
Is there a discrepancy between your writing and what you know or do?
Rely on others for correspondence in meetings to avoid frustration?
Are you ever overwhelmed by paperwork or sequential processes?
Struggle staying on task or estimating how long a job will take?
Has your lack of confidence resulted in being overlooked for a promotion?
If you have at least 5 or more of these characteristics, you might have dyslexia.
Looking for an ADHD assessment in Australia? If so, contact Educational Assessments. We carry out cognitive assessments across Australia. These can help isolate and determine whether you or your loved one are struggling with something in particular. Our team also offer home visits to assess your needs in an environment you’re comfortable in.
Myths about ADHD that can be dispelled by an ADHD assessment
There are several myths about ADHD, and you might see some of these in the media or have heard them spread at the playground gate.
Often, people think that children with ADHD are naughty
Now, that’s because they don’t understand what ADHD is and how it happens.
However, they’re also just making a general comment about children’s behaviour. With this in mind, a majority of parents tend to feel that other people think THEY have CAUSED the ADHD symptoms in their child. Yet, what you’ll learn is that – although poor parenting CAN make ADHD symptoms worse – even the best parenting WON’T get rid of all the symptoms.
Does ADHD disappear as the child grows up?
Hyperactivity MIGHT be replaced by an internal restlessness.
ADHD is a LIFELONG diagnosis that can become more apparent at different periods of a person’s life. The support of a structured environment – like a classroom – can mean that symptoms are less obvious in school. This is because the child is actively engaged all day long doing their work and getting on with their school tasks. Put simply – they’re kept BUSY, and often children with ADHD are great at keeping busy and being busy. You see, problems occur more often when they’re LESS busy, with less structure. So playtime may be more difficult, but the classroom might be okay with a clear system for behaviour and encouraging good work from children.
People might think that young children DON'T have ADHD . . .
However, research indicates that ADHD symptoms DEVELOP as the child grows.
Signs of ADHD are LESS obvious when the child is little – but do exist. For example, what you might see as a version of the Terrible Twos might continue for MUCH longer than expected. The child might experience some difficulties playing or engaging in activities, which means they have to stay in one place. Therefore, when they’re little, they may just be considered an active child. Yet, it’s not until they go to school that people realise that their activity level is an issue in the classroom.
People might think that children with ADHD are NOT clever
That they will ALWAYS have learning difficulties.
There are many children with ADHD who don’t have any other problems – they only have ADHD. However, ADHD symptoms WILL affect the way they engage with school and the work achieved in the classroom. With this in mind, they may achieve less because of their ADHD but not because they’re inherently any less clever than everybody else.
The media can be scary for someone with ADHD
One need only look at their stance on the prison population.
For example, the media might talk about the prison population, “Have you seen the number of inmates with ADHD?!” Now, that may be true. Plenty of those people won’t have been diagnosed with ADHD at the right point in their lives – which means they have lived their life WITHOUT the right kind of SUPPORT. Otherwise, they’ll have had an upbringing fraught with difficulties – and that’s the route to prison rather than ADHD. Conversely, people can sometimes think that medication is the ONLY treatment as this is something the media likes to hype up. Bitter headlines like, “How many of our children are on medication?” In actual fact, only a minority will need to take medication, and they may not be on medication for their whole lifetime.
Teachers at the moment are NOT always trained in ADHD
Nor do they know the specifics of the strategies needed to manage a child.
So, when you’re talking with your school, it’d be worth asking your teachers what training they’ve had on ADHD. Their basic teacher training may NOT have included much about ADHD at all. If ADHD was included, sometimes people feel that a “Special School” is the only environment that can support a child with ADHD. That ISN’T the case. The vast majority of children with ADHD go into mainstream school. They’re educated in ordinary classrooms alongside everybody else, and that is much better for them – if they can manage that.
More and more people with ADHD crop up in unemployment reports
It can seem as though having ADHD leads to unemployment.
What ADHD does is causes difficulties in finding work for some people. Yet, it depends on the job that the person chooses. If they can find a role that means they can be very active – they’re likely to do a LOT better. If they don’t have academic skills or are unable to learn about strategies themselves, they may have MORE difficulty at work. Rather than being unemployed, people with ADHD may be underemployed BECAUSE of their ability. So they’ll take a job which suits their need for activity. Yet, they’re intellectually capable of doing something MORE. This links to our next point about university.
People with ADHD can go to university
That’s right. Just like any other student.
Better still, they can access support to ENSURE the university experience works for them. Without support, they may find organising work and getting essays in on time difficult. Not to mention following through with all the career paths that become available options after that! Fortunately, support is provided to put them on an equal footing with other students.
ADHD comes with THREE main difficulties
Restlessness can often be more obvious in boys than girls.
Speaking of which, fiddling is used by people with ADHD to HELP them pay attention.
Some young people with ADHD might resort to eating all the time as a way of keeping their hands occupied.
Inattention means not paying attention.
Inattention can happen even if it's something they find interesting . . .
Children with ADHD are VERY prone to forgetting parts of instructions.
Typically, those with ADHD are easily distracted.
This can be due to noises, such as people nearby, things going on, or something happening outside the window. Yet, it can also be from the very thoughts harbouring inside their head. Let’s say something happens during the day that is an important event and something they need to think about and process. That might be very distracting during the day, and they may not be able to attend to the tasks they need to. Such a thing can be a particular issue in school. There could have been an unusual event, like a fire alarm going off in the morning. Such stimulus could cause a child to remain unsettled well into the afternoon. The event has ignited a spark in their noggin that has made it difficult for them to think about what that alarm might mean for them:
? | What should they do next time?
? | They need to follow fire drill instructions
? | Okay, so did they do it right?
? | Oh god, what if they didn’t do it right?
? | And so on, and so on . . .
Children with ADHD are prone to losing equipment.
Impulsivity is where you act before thought – or on impulse.
They might find it hard to keep quiet during conversations.
ADHD and autism may have some similarities.
Each certainly has a LOT of difficulty with controlling themselves in terms of safety, for example:
? | Being able to ride a bike or scooter safely
? | Crossing the road whilst holding their parent’s hand
? | Being able to remain close by in a shopping centre
Deviations of these things would be counted under dangerous behaviour, and – as they get older – they may make some risky choices. They may run into the road thinking they’re going to be able to cross – only to get knocked down. They might ride their bike across a bumpy piece of ground – not thinking for a minute that they might fall off.
They're not so good at evaluating risk, and that applies to people as well.
Being able to control your emotions requires your thinking skills to be working really well. Often in ADHD, this alone is a BIG effort to keep going. Individuals might get irritated and annoyed – but also silly and excitable – so emotional control can be a big issue.
Likewise, coordination can be an issue. They might not be able to tie their laces, put their clothes on easily and quickly or engage in other ordinary, everyday skills. When applied to things like riding a bike, this increases the risk of an accident. So, if you’re miss coordinated, but you need to put your brakes on FAST, that can be quite hard.
Autism is also associated with ADHD. Children with autism are also more likely to possess ADHD symptoms and vice versa. Yet, sometimes it may be related, and there might not be enough clarity to make a separate diagnosis. Therefore, children with ADHD may have some social communication difficulties but not of the nature seen in autism.
Sleep is a common issue. Parents often talk about children with difficulties settling and relaxing into sleep. Worse still, they tend to get up VERY early in the morning and don’t seem to need as much sleep as the rest of the family. This can be disruptive to family life, so the key is to teach your child how to quietly occupy themselves with things that WON’T make them stay awake. Keeping off computer screens and TVs is essential, but having something to do is suitable. This could be reading books, playing very quietly in bed or even drawing. It’s a toughie because if parents don’t get enough sleep, it increases their stress. Which leads us to . . .
Low self-esteem can be a consequence of all the difficulties discussed above. If you often get in trouble and have your behaviour corrected a lot, it can lead to you feeling you must be a bad kind of person . . . Improving your child’s self-esteem is the one BIG THING any parent should strive to achieve with their child. Yet, there are behaviour problems with ADHD, and that’s how children are diagnosed. Unfortunately, children aren’t usually seen if all they have is this attention problems side. Therefore, once their behaviour causes worry for others, they’ll be referred. Such behaviour problems can be varied, but often include:
? | Not doing as they’re told
? | Being disruptive in lessons
? | Repeatedly being told the same things
If defied, people will begin to think they’re deliberately going against the norm; rather than find it difficult to do what they should do. ADHD is common in children with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.
What affects ADHD symptoms?
Everything from feeling cooped up to dealing with deadlines.
There are some things that can make symptoms of ADHD worse, and generally, that’s ANYTHING that increases stress. These may be different things for different children, but these are some common ones.
1. Being cooped up indoors all day is not ideal for those with ADHD
2. Sudden deadlines are a DEFINITE stress inducer (for everyone)
3. Another stress inducer for ADHD is criticism
4. Boredom can be a bothersome issue
5. Giving too many instructions at a time can be a problem
6. Harsh discipline can work to your disadvantage
Possible ongoing issues of ADHD
Whether practical, emotional or social – there’s a lot to take in.
There are some ongoing issues that may affect somebody with ADHD across their lifetime. These might be some practical things, such as being able to get things done on time, like . . .
? | Paying bills
? | Applying for a job
? | Filling out all the forms
? | Making appointments, e.g. their GP
These require you to keep your attention sharp and complete a task. Therefore, all the above are considered a difficulty by those with ADHD.
Another issue is emotional problems. People with ADHD get stressed, can feel very anxious or have a low mood or depression. Dealing with ADHD for some can be an extremely difficult and take a tremendous amount of energy. So, when other things come along which make them MORE anxious or miserable, it can have a devastating effect.
Another issue over their lifetime is the ability to MANAGE everyday stressors, such as . . .
? | Making holiday arrangements
? | Generally dealing with children
? | Deviating from their typical routine
ADHD in the Workplace
ADHD in Social Circumstances
Social relationships and friendships can be an issue. Some people with ADHD find it quite hard NOT to say things that come into their head, so they may offend people without necessarily intending to. They may find it more difficult to keep friends or keep hold of boyfriends or girlfriends. Plus, they may find it hard in a group of friends without either being too loud or behaving inappropriately from the norm. Due to this, they can find it harder to uphold relationships.
Some people can find that energy and vigour VERY attractive, which is neither a negative nor positive.
However, they may attract relationships with people looking for somebody they can manipulate. They might find them entertaining and may encourage them to perhaps act in a way that it might be a bit wiser not to. In this regard, adults with ADHD certainly have a HIGHER rate of ordinary accidents. If you look at bike riders or car drivers, they’re more likely to have incidents more frequently than your average person. This is due to impulsivity and attention requirements, and the ability to think of multiple things simultaneously.
ADHD and Organisation
Those with ADHD might also have difficulties in organising themselves for activities. They might end up missing things that they actually would enjoy just because they struggle to get themselves organised. They might have some difficulties with money and being able to plan, save and separate themselves from thinking of being only in the moment. They may jump to what they’d like to do with the money this weekend when they’ve just been paid.
They might also find it harder to find the right job for them. One that gives them enough time and space to be themselves, BUT also enables them to perform well.
Some are more vulnerable to getting into trouble. So, in a crowd, they become the person who will always do the daring thing. Yet, as they didn’t see trouble coming, they could accidentally get into trouble without intending to end up in trouble. This can be with teachers or the police or anything like that – all because they didn’t realise any potential consequences.
The same applies to looking after their health and well-being.
They are not so good at making appointments to see the doctors or keeping them and then getting to treatment appointments. So in terms of health outcomes, people with ADHD show worse outcomes, as they’re not so good at getting regularly checked. Therefore, if they also have some additional health problems, that’s an added problem. Plus, the systems in place in this country mean you have to sit and wait for your appointment – and must wait quietly. Quite often, there isn’t anything to do; other than maybe read a paper? This is understandably quite a terse situation for somebody with ADHD to wait in for an indefinite amount of time. Due to this, they may feel irritated, and then if somebody speaks in the wrong kind of way or isn’t very helpful about it, they may come across as very rude.
Looking for an ADHD assessment? Get in contact!
We test children, adolescents, adults, and we can test YOU . . .
At Educational Assessments, our psychologists carry out full cognitive assessments. These provide essential learning and performance data to bolster support for individuals. If you believe that you or a loved one is struggling, get in touch. We have extensive coverage in Australia. Our team of expert consultants conduct home visits to assess you or your child and evaluate the patient’s learning needs to succeed.
We evaluate an extensive range of learning, social and emotional issues. The knowledge gleaned from our assessments and subsequent report permit you to make informed choices. So, if you want to find the best way forwards that’s suited to you or your child’s learning needs, then this is the answer.
Looking for an ADHD assessment? We offer clear, jargon-free advice, consistent personal support and offer valuable expertise. So, if you need advice, don’t delay. Simply get in touch today.