Children and young people are often energetic, restless and excitable. Many have difficulty sitting still for a period of time, for example, some are unable to sit through a meal without fidgeting or attempting to leave the table. Some children and young people may not listen to instructions, not do what they are told, and may be noisy and argumentative. It is also not unusual for children and young people to have difficulty concentrating at times. Hyperactive and inattentive behaviours are normal and are nothing to worry about, however they can be difficult to deal with.
Children and young people in high spirits can often be described as 'hyper', but this term can be overused, and is sometimes misleading. It is only more extreme hyperactivity and inattention that may be a sign of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD).
It can be frustrating and exhausting when dealing with a child or young person who is being very energetic or boisterous, or is not listening to you. It is important to be aware of the impact that your feelings will have on your response. Staying calm will help you respond more helpfully to the child or young person.
Children and young people who have ADHD have marked difficulties with concentration, attention and hyperactivity, alongside problems controlling their speech and behaviour. ADD is similar but the main difficulty is with concentration rather than excessive hyperactivity.
The NHS Choices website outlines some signs of inattentiveness and hyperactivity common to ADHD and ADD:
With ADHD or ADD, the above signs have often:
If your child is:
Please consult with other professionals involved or the named person, and to help identify the most appropriate support, go to: www.nhsfife.org/choosingtherightsupport
As well as the ideas in the “What you can do” section above, the following approaches may also help:
School staff in Fife have access to guidelines which have been written by the NHS and Education Service. Training is also offered to teachers so that they can best support children and young people with ADHD or ADD.
Facilitating the inclusion of children and young people with ADHD or ADD is the responsibility of the classroom teacher, supported by Support for Learning teachers and support staff, support services and other agencies as appropriate.
In Fife, there are a number of whole school approaches, to help with classroom management and the inclusion of children and young people with ADHD or ADD. If additional support is required, school staff will advise on this.
Hyperclub, direct support for children and young people in Fife: www.hyperclub.org.uk
Information on support groups in Fife including Parents Inc and Young People Inc: www.moodcafe.co.uk/parents/adhd.aspx
Scottish ADHD Coalition, support in Scotland: www.scottishadhdcoalition.org