Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder defined by inattention, disorganisation, and or hyperactivity and impulsivity.
These behaviours may present in three different areas, including:
- Inattention – having difficulties concentrating, forgetting instructions, moving from one task to another without completing anything, seeming not to listen, losing items at levels inconsistent with age or developmental level;
- Hyperactivity – constant restlessness, fidgeting, overactivity, inability to stay seated, intruding into other people’s activities, and inability to wait;
- A Combination – of inattention and hyperactivity.
Symptoms of ADHD
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) the following are symptoms of ADHD:
- Difficulties focusing;
- Does not appear to be listening;
- Does not follow instructions;
- Poor time management;
- Loses items;
- Easily distracted;
- Poor short term memory.
- Constantly moving – runs and climbs at inappropriate times;
- Difficulty sitting still;
- Always on the go;
- Talks excessively;
- Difficulty waiting their turn.
These symptoms must have been occurring over a six month period, and having a negative impact on social and academic activities for a diagnosis to be made. Symptoms must also have been seen over two different environments eg home and school.
Assessment for ADHD
The symptoms listed above can also be experienced by many children and adolescents without it leading to a diagnosis of ADHD.
At times, children may be affected by an experience in their life which can impact on their behaviour and create symptoms which may look like ADHD. It is important for the psychologist to gather information to provide a holistic view of the child’s life and past experiences when diagnosing ADHD.
If you are noticing symptoms of ADHD in your child, or the school has reported issues, further investigation into assessment for ADHD is an option. An ADHD assessment will include information gathered from the parent, school and sometimes from the child or adolescent themselves. Additionally, an assessment called the Conners 3 (Conners 3rd Edition) is used to obtain parent and teacher observations about the child’s behaviour. The assessment investigates six areas including:
- Learning problems;
- Executive functioning;
- Peer Relations.
The assessment also investigates the possibilities of conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder being present, both of which are common in children experiencing ADHD.
You will first have to book an initial appointment with Cassandra to discuss your concerns prior to booking an assessment. There are no Medicare rebates for assessments and a Mental Health Care Plan is not applicable.
ADHD assessment including 1 to 2 sessions of testing, 1 feedback session, scoring and interpretation, and report writing – from $800.
Treatment for ADHD
Treatment for ADHD focuses on reducing the symptoms rather than “curing”. Psychological options include:
- Behavioural therapy to help manage the behavioural symptoms. Sessions will involve goal setting, establishing routines, and consistency for the child;
- Family therapy to help relationships and ensure a consistent parenting method is established;
- Improving social skills and problem solving to create a more harmonious environment;
- Medication options to be discussed with your GP, paediatrician or child psychiatrist.
Children and adolescents with ADHD can cause a lot of stress for the family, as well as create relationship difficulties. If you would like some support for your child and your family, do not hesitate to book an appointment today..
Author: Cassandra Gist, BPsych (Hons), MPsych, MAPS.
Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist works with clients aged from two years old right through to adulthood. She has a special interest in working with children and their families around the diagnosis and treatment of issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist, try
Online Booking – Loganholme or Online Booking – Mt Gravatt .
Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129, or Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.