What is it?

Many children especially under 5 are inattentive and restless however children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their actions, this should be regarded as a challenge to the child, not an excuse for their behaviour. ADHD is a recognised medical condition, it may be lifelong and causes children to have difficulties in the following areas:

  • Impulsivity
  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity


  • Blurts out answers before the question is completed
  • Fails to wait in line or take turns during games or group sessions
  • Interrupts or intrudes in conversations
  • Talks excessively, not waiting for responses or following social cues
  • Needs to be "on the go" with an inability to settle, stay focused or interested


  • Fails to sustain attention in tasks or activities
  • Appears not to listen to what is being said
  • Fails to follow through instructions or understand what being asked of them
  • Difficulties in organising themselves
  • Easily distracted by external stimuli
  • Forgetful of daily routines or activities


  • Constantly fidgets with hands, feet or nearest available object
  • In situations where the child is expected to remain seated, constantly leaves seat
  • Runs or climbs excessively
  • Restlessness
  • Noisy and has difficulty engaging quietly in activities
  • Exhibits persistence of excessive movement

What to do next?

If you suspect that a child may have ADHD then:

  • Speak to the child’s parents about your concerns and what you have observed, they may have noticed that their child is struggling with things too
  • The child will need to be assessed by appropriate professionals – this will include a referral to CAMHS (see referral guidelines)
  • In schools the child will need extra support and may even need to have a statement of educational needs. This will need to be discussed with the child’s school

How is ADHD Managed?

If a child is diagnosed with ADHD their condition is discussed with them and their parents and a collaborative decision is reached about treatment. The most common approach to managing ADHD is a combination of:

  • Medication
  • Behaviour management techniques

It is important that interventions are used consistently across all settings the child may be in. School staff can refer to the teachers section of this site for hints on school and classroom management of ADHD.
What is ADD?

A child may be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), they will display symptoms of inattention and impulsivity, but without hyperactivity.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

NICE guidelines are recommendations on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS. Recommendations are based upon the most up to date research available.