How can having ADHD affect children at school?

ADHD school child education

If your child has recently been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or you suspect that your child has ADHD but has not yet received a formal assessment and diagnosis, then you might be wondering how ADHD may affect your child at school.

Whilst it’s true that school can be a challenge for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, there are ways in which you can support your child or teen and help them to succeed in the classroom

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Firstly, let’s briefly define exactly what ADHD is. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition that affects people’s behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, can be impulsive, and may have trouble concentrating.

Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age and may become more noticeable when a child’s circumstances change, such as when they start school, which is why you may have recently noticed that your child is affected by ADHD.


Often, children with ADHD start school before their ADHD is diagnosed, which means that teachers are sometimes the first to notice possible signs of ADHD. They may talk it over with the child’s parent, and at this stage the parent can seek an ADHD assessment and diagnosis for their child from a specialist ADHD clinic.

Parents often worry that their child being diagnosed with ADHD may have a negative impact on their education, and their ability to behave and ‘fit in’ at school. Below we have discussed the ways that an ADHD diagnosis may affect your child at school, and what can be done to lessen the impact of your child’s ADHD at school.

How can ADHD affect children at school?

ADHD may affect your child in the following ways at school:

– Ability to focus
– Ability to pay attention or listen
– Ability to put effort into schoolwork.
– ADHD also can make a student fidgety, restless, talk too much, or disrupt the class.

If you have a school aged child that has been diagnosed with ADHD, we understand that it can be a confusing and worrying time. However, it’s important to remember that ADHD is not an illness or disease; it means your brain works in a different way from other people. While this may make day to day life more challenging for someone with ADHD, it can also mean that the individual has capabilities outside of the ‘norm’ which can be very positive. In fact, ADHD is often referred to as a ‘superpower’. For example, you might find that your child is more creative and innovative, more resilient, and has the ability to hyperfocus: all positive qualities when it comes to excelling within an educational environment.

How a specialist ADHD clinic can help

If your child has had an ADHD diagnosis, the key to helping them enjoy a happy, successful education is how their ADHD is managed. With the correct help and support where required, your child will be able to thrive educationally and socially. 

A specialist ADHD clinic such as Sanctum can help. Sanctum is a private specialist ADHD clinic based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We understand that you may be feeling confused and anxious, but we can help you plan a pathway to a happier, healthier future for you and your child.

At Sanctum, ADHD treatment pathways and options include:

Finding the right medication and conducting regular reviews as part of the treatment pathway.

Support from our specialists, comprising group work and one to one sessions.

ADHD Coaching
Positive help and support from our specialist coaches.

Diet & Nutrition
Nutritional approaches to ADHD management.

How can teachers help children with ADHD in schools?

If your child has received an ADHD diagnosis, the first step is to let all their teachers know so that they can help provide the correct support. Teachers can help you decide whether your child needs an individualised education program, or additional changes to the learning environment to help meet your child’s needs.

You should also keep in close contact with your child’s teachers to discuss your child’s progress. Ask the teacher to let you know how your child is doing, and share notes about their progress.

Teachers can also help focus on your individual child’s needs. Every child with ADHD is different: some may need help paying attention and learning to listen more effectively, whereas some may need help to be more organised, or need help getting started/finishing their work. Some students with ADHD have trouble staying seated or working quietly. Ask the teacher how ADHD affects your child in the classroom as this can shape what you can then do to help your child with their schoolwork.

There are things that teachers can do each day to help support your child, depending on their individual needs, such as:

– Seat a student where there are fewer distractions.
– Give instructions that are clear and brief.
– Have simple classroom routines and rules.
– Be warm, encouraging, and positive.
– Praise efforts.
– Help with organisation.
– Give prompts to stay on task.
– Give set breaks to move around in the classroom.
– Give extra time to complete work.


How is ADHD diagnosed in children?

If you suspect that your child has ADHD but they have not yet been professionally diagnosed, you may be wondering how to obtain an ADHD assessment and diagnosis.

There is no simple test to determine whether a child has ADHD. An ADHD specialist will conduct a detailed assessment which may include a physical examination, a series of interviews with the child, and interviews or reports from parents, carers, and teachers. 

In order for a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, they must display 6 or more symptoms of inattentiveness, or 6 or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness. The child must also have been displaying ADHD symptoms continuously for at least 6 months, and must have started to show symptoms before the age of 12. Children must also show ADHD symptoms in at least two different settings, for example both at home and at school. This is to rule out the behaviour being related to one particular setting, for example as a reaction to being at school.

You can go via the NHS for an ADHD diagnosis, however the referral process can take several years depending on where you are geographically. Luckily, there are now ADHD clinics where specialist psychologists can help you obtain an ADHD assessment and diagnosis much faster than the NHS can. For example, Sanctum clinic in Wilmslow, Cheshire, guarantees to respond to all ADHD enquiries within 24 hours, and patients can expect to be assessed and diagnosed within just one day.

Specialist ADHD Assessment and Diagnosis Clinic

Sanctum is a specialist ADHD clinic offering a comprehensive, multi-professional assessment for adults and children who may have ADHD. Sanctum’s diagnostic team all have specialist experience of assessing and supporting individuals with ADHD.

Private ADHD clinics such as Sanctum understand that individuals can struggle to live full and happy lives as a result of undiagnosed ADHD, and for that reason long NHS waiting lists are just not an option. This is why private ADHD clinics aim to provide rapid access to assessment.

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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