Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most misunderstood neurodevelopmental conditions. It affects the neurological system, brain and executive functioning, as well as people’s behaviours. However, most people only know of the attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity symptoms of ADHD rather than the intricacies of living with this condition. This makes it even more difficult for children with undiagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder to get the help they need.
A child’s symptoms could come across as naughty or deliberately difficult to parents and teachers, which can cause the child to feel frustrated with themselves and impact their early development. Having the child assessed by an ADHD specialist or private child psychiatrist can help them understand their neurodiversity, manage their symptoms, and get the necessary support so they can overcome these difficulties and be their best selves.
Research around the exact cause of ADHD has been inconclusive, but there does appear to be a higher risk of ADHD in children who have a parent or family member that has it.
ADHD Symptoms in Children & Teenagers
The signs and symptoms of ADHD are typically divided into three general components: attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Some children have combined symptoms encompassing all of these areas, while others may not be affected by all three.
Other mental health problems can also be present in kids with ADHD, which are known as ADHD comorbidities. These can include autism spectrum disorder (ASD), anxiety, depression, and disorders associated with learning, mood, and sleep.
The symptoms of ADHD in children can begin to show early in a child’s life and tend to be present before the age of 12. Some typical ADHD symptoms to look out for include:
Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or activities
Lacks attention to detail
Easily distracted (by related and unrelated stimuli)
Difficulty with listening, focus, or sustaining attention in school tasks or play activities
Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (like schoolwork, studying, or homework) and fails to follow through on instructions or complete tasks
Loses items needed for tasks or activities (homework, stationery, toys, etc.)
Squirms in their seat or fidgets with their hands or feet
Often leaves their seat in the classroom unnecessarily
Often runs and climbs excessively in situations in which it is considered inappropriate
Difficulty with self-control and waiting their turn (e.g. blurts out answers before questions have been completed or interrupts others who are talking)
Adolescents with ADHD will have displayed some of the above behaviours during childhood. As they enter their teenage years and develop more self-control, some of the behaviours are replaced with feelings of restlessness.
The problem arises when a teen’s independence and academic demands increase and they struggle to keep up with their peers or the expectations of their parents and teachers. If their ADHD remains undiagnosed, this can lead to frustration and feelings of failure and negatively impact their self-esteem, relationships, and future aspirations.
Common Misdiagnoses & Misconceptions About ADHD
The above list of ADHD symptoms only outlines some common signs or behaviours seen in kids, so it is not conclusive without a comprehensive ADHD diagnosis. Without the proper assessments and screening, a child who is full of energy may be diagnosed with ADHD, while a child with ADHD might be misdiagnosed as having dyslexia or a mood or conduct disorder.
For this reason, a private ADHD diagnosis in Scotland requires reporting symptoms and other relevant information within different environments, mainly at school, home, and the medical examination.
Some studies have found that boys tend to be diagnosed with ADHD more frequently than girls. This could be because they may display externalised symptoms such as hyperactivity-impulsivity behaviours, which caretakers more easily pick up. When compared to impulsivity and boisterous behaviour, girls who display more internalised symptoms, such as inattentiveness, may not be noticed as quickly.
If you’ve noticed many of these behaviours or symptoms in your child or teenager, we can help you assess the situation and take the best next step for your child’s development.
Contact Diverse Diagnostics to book a private diagnosis of ADHD for your child and give your family the answers you need.
The Importance of Diagnosing & Treating ADHD Early
A child with undiagnosed ADHD may struggle with ordinary tasks that can affect their social skills and ability to learn, but with a private ADHD diagnosis and the right treatment plan, they can completely turn their life around.
When ADHD is not detected or treated early on, some of the risks that can develop in a child or teen’s life and as they enter adulthood include:
Low education or job attainment
Insomnia and bad sleep patterns
Difficulty with social skills and relationships
Mood disorders (like depression or anxiety disorder)
Increased risk of substance abuse
By mitigating these risks, an ADHD diagnosis with a tailored treatment plan is life-changing for a child or teen. With a better understanding of ADHD and themselves, the child can optimise their learning environment and achieve their full potential.
A comprehensive assessment, ADHD diagnosis, and GP/consultant report from Diverse Diagnostics will help the child and their family get the right support and treatment.
If you think your child or a child you teach may have undiagnosed ADHD, contact us to find out about our private ADHD child assessment in Aberdeen.