Living with ADHD


One in 20 school children are affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

It's a complex condition where children find it difficult to concentrate or are hyperactive and impulsive.

Sometimes it can be hard to work out whether a child's behaviour is normal or the sign of a behavioural disorder.

Unless it is recognised it can result in the child being labelled as naughty or disruptive.

BBC Cornwall's Laurence Reed has been looking into the condition.

ADHD in children

Young children, especially those aged five and below, are often energetic, noisy and excitable.

One in 20 school children are affected by ADHD

What is important to remember is usually this liveliness is quite normal.

Sometimes, active and noisy children can be quite a handful: talking all the time, not doing as they're told and seeming restless.

This kind of overactive behaviour is more usual among boys.

Although this can be hard to deal with, it's only when a child's behaviour is extreme that it suggests a behavioural disorder.

In ADHD every child is different however there are three main groups of symptoms:


  • Difficulty in concentrating on a task
  • Easily distracted from the task in hand
  • Avoids tasks where sustained attention to detail is needed
  • Often doesn't finish one thing before starting another
  • Doesn't listen properly when spoken to
  • Finds it difficult to follow instructions
  • Loses things necessary for tasks or activities
  • Is forgetful in daily activities


  • Fidgets with hands and feet and climbs in and out of seat
  • Leaves seat when expected to remain there
  • Runs about and climbs on things excessively when it is not appropriate
  • Has difficulty in playing quietly
  • Is 'on the go'
  • Talks excessively and is noisy


  • Difficulty waiting his/her turn in a game or in class
  • Blurts out answers before the question is completed
  • Interrupts others

For many children, ADHD will improve as they get older, but some may continue to have problems as adults.

Unsurprisingly, the combination of difficulties presented in children and young people diagnosed with ADHD is associated with increased rates of observed social and educational failure, anxiety and depression - which is often accompanied by a marked reduction in self-esteem.

A child with ADHD can be challenging for the whole family. Parents and carers may find themselves always telling the child off.

Fortunately, some evidence suggests that early diagnosis and management may help some of these adverse long-term consequences.

This is the main challenge for professionals and families setting out to treat, support and care for this group of children and young people towards adulthood.

Local Support Groups

Time Out from ADHD offers free groups for parents/carers and children in Cornwall. For more information email

For support websites and more information, see our weblinks on the top right hand side of this page.

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