Does my child have ADHD?

adhd in children

Are you concerned that your child is possibly displaying the signs of ADHD and are unsure how to help? Here at Sanctum, we understand this can be a worrying time for parents when your child is behaving differently to others, or perhaps you have been contacted by your child’s school teacher wanting to discuss the possibility of ADHD presenting in your child. If you have no experience with ADHD in your family, this can be extremely challenging but there are many ways in which you can support your child and help them to succeed in all areas of life.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that typically appears in early childhood. People with ADHD may appear restless, have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse. Most ADHD cases in children are diagnosed under the age of 12 and tend to become more prominent when there is a circumstantial change in the child’s life, such as when they start school. Inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity are the common traits of someone with ADHD but other lesser-known traits can present themselves, such as appearing spacey and unmotivated, which can leave adults and parents feeling worried and confused. 

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but it is thought that it may run in families and can present in people of any intellectual ability. It is most common in those with learning disabilities and those that were born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy), those that had a low birth weight and those whose mothers smoked or drank alcohol during pregnancy.

ADHD in children and how it presents

It may be difficult to distinguish possible ADHD behaviours from normal child behaviours. All children find it difficult to regulate emotions, control their impulses and listen when needed and if you spot just a few signs in some situations there is probably no need to worry. However, if your child shows several symptoms across several situations – at home, school and play – then it may be time to take a closer look. 

 ADHD in children can be categorised into two types of behavioural problems:


      Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

These signs usually present themselves before the age of six and occur in more than one situation, such as at home and school. Children can show a number of symptoms simultaneously or they may present just one. Some of the main symptoms of inattentiveness are:

      Difficulty in organising tasks and feeling the need to constantly change the activity or task.

      Being forgetful, losing things often and making mistakes, often at school.

      Getting easily distracted and having a short attention span.

      Finding it difficult to listen to instructions and carry out tasks and often being unable to stick to that task if it’s time-consuming.

Some of the main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

      Being unable to sit still, constant physical movement and fidgeting and finding it particularly difficult in calm and quiet surroundings.

      Seeming to act without thinking, interrupting conversations and finding it difficult to wait their turn.

      Finding it difficult to concentrate on tasks and talking excessively.

      Having little or no sense of danger.

Parents often worry that ADHD may cause problems in their child’s life, such as hindering their ability to bond with others and make friends and possibly cause underachievement at school. For parents looking after children with ADHD, it can take a lot of energy to complete simple tasks such as getting ready for school on time, getting your child to sleep at night and listening to and carrying out instructions, but there are steps you can take to help living with ADHD in your child a little more manageable. 

Getting help: how a specialist ADHD clinic can help you and your child

If you think your child may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, gaining a diagnosis is the first step into helping them to enjoy their life to the full and with the correct help and support, your child will be able to enjoy a happy and healthy future. 

At Sanctum, a specialist ADHD clinic, we provide private, specialist ADHD assessment and diagnosis and offer a very comprehensive pathway to the treatment of each child on a one-to-one basis. Our discreet, expert ADHD psychiatrists will provide you with a wealth of high-end wellness services from psychiatry and psychology to nutritional assessments, personal training and 24-hour nursing care. 

Assessment and diagnosis for ADHD in children

While there is no simple test to conduct to find out if your child has ADHD, an ADHD specialist can carry out a detailed assessment which may include a physical examination, interviews with your child and also with parents, carers and teachers. 

To be diagnosed, your child must be displaying symptoms of ADHD, continuously, for at least 6 months and they must display 6 or more symptoms of inattentiveness or 6 or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness across at least 2 different settings and have started to show these symptoms before the age of 12. 

It is possible to take your child to your GP to discuss symptoms, however, this can often be a lengthy process, where you may be asked to complete a period of watchful waiting, lasting around 10 weeks, where you will need to keep a check on if your child’s symptoms improve, stay the same or get worse. If after this time your child’s behaviour does not improve then your GP will refer you to a specialist via the NHS for a formal assessment.

How we can help with assessment and diagnosis at Sanctum, a specialist ADHD clinic

If like most parents and carers, you want to get your child assessed as quickly as possible then we here at Sanctum are here to help. Sanctum is a provider of bespoke treatment for neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD and our intention is to positively change how the treatment is accessed. Our comprehensive assessment process ensures that we conduct a full clinical due diligence that includes assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management and transfer of care.

We understand that if these neurodevelopmental conditions remain undiagnosed life can feel isolating and confusing for children. We can assure you that you won’t need to struggle alone as we respond to all ADHD enquiries within 24 hours and our patients can expect to be assessed and diagnosed within just one day.  

If you would like to speak to Sanctum’s friendly team about obtaining an ADHD assessment for your child, you can get in touch here.


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