Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) refer to a range of problem behaviours associated with poor attention span. These may include impulsiveness, restlessness and hyperactivity, as well as inattentiveness, and often prevent children from learning and socialising well.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

Attention difficulties

A child must have exhibited at least six of the following symptoms for at least six months to an
extent that is unusual for their age and level of intelligence.

  • Fails to pay close attention to detail or makes careless errors during work or play.
  • Fails to finish tasks or sustain attention in play activities and/or seems not to listen to what is said to him or her.
  • Fails to follow through instructions or to finish homework or chores (not because of confrontational behaviour or failure to understand instructions), and/or disorganised about tasks and activities
  • Avoids tasks like homework that require sustained mental effort.
  • Loses things necessary for certain tasks or activities, such as pencils, books or toys.
  • Easily distracted and/or forgetful in the course of daily activities


A child must have exhibited at least three of the following symptoms for at least six months to an extent that is unusual for their age and level of intelligence.

  • Runs around or excessively climbs over things and/or unduly noisy in playing, or has difficulty in engaging in quiet leisure activities.
  • Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations where remaining seated is expected and/or fidgets with hands or feet or squirms on seat.


At least one of the following symptoms must have persisted at least for six months to an extent that is unusual for their age and level of intelligence.

  • Blurts out answers before the questions have been completed.
  • Fails to wait in lines or await turns in games or group situations.
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others, e.g. butts into others conversations or games.
  • Talks excessively without appropriate response to social restraint.

Pervasiveness of attention difficulties and hyperactivity

For a diagnosis or description of ADHD a child would be expected to show the above difficulties
in more than one setting, eg at school and at home.

Sometimes problems are not shown ‘at home’ but are very evident when a child goes to a hospital department. This can happen when parents do not realise that their child’s behaviour is out of the normal range (perhaps because they have no other children, or they have other children who behave similarly).

It may also be because the problems are mild, or because the family has handled the attention
lack at home in such a way that it is not evident there is a major problem, or because the child is very young. In those cases it is quite reasonable for parents not to consider that their child has an attention deficit problem.

Recent research including studies carried out by Cardiff University have shown a link to a genetic propensity toward ADHD for some people

For further information see the ADHD website:

ADHD clinics in Llandough Hospital are run by Dr Alison Kemp and Dr Nia John.
In St David’s Hospital, Cardiff - all Consultant Paediatricians see children with ADHD in their regular clinics.

1000 Lives and ADHD Resources for Children and Parents


ADHD in adults

It is becoming clear that ADHD  may not be diagnosed well into adult life. Recent research has highlighted effective treatment for some adults with the condition. If you feel that you may be affected contact your local GP


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