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ADHD

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental condition that affects attention, impulsivity and activity levels. Some individuals may have a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), the name used for this condition between 1980 and 19871,2.

There are three types of ADHD: predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive and combined (which has both hyperactive and inattentive features).

How common is ADHD?

Studies suggest that between 0.6 % and 3.5 % of children in the UK have ADHD3-8.

The percentages vary from country to country.

Common challenges described by adults with ADHD

  • Impulsivity:
    • Speaking/acting before thinking.
    • Interrupting others.
    • Jumping to a new topic of conversation without finishing the current one.
    • Difficulty waiting their turn.
  • Hyperactivity (more obvious in childhood):
    • Difficulty sitting still.
    • Being restless and fidgety, e.g. tapping feet, playing with pen, being over-talkative.
    • Feeling restless internally.
  • Inattention:
    • May be easily distracted.
    • Poor concentration/daydreaming.
  • Organisational challenges:
    • Difficulty organising themselves and their work without practicing and automating procedures.
    • Can start tasks but find it hard to finish them or miss out steps.
    • Produce work of a variable quality.
    • Frustration, as the individual is often aware of their difficulties.

Reasonable adjustments in work:

There are a variety of ways to support someone with ADHD. These include:

  • Ask the person what they find harder to do and what has helped previously.
  • Discuss adapting working hours, e.g. flexi-time or longer hours with more breaks within the day, to manage potential loss of focus.
  • Discuss if sounds, people, movement are distracting – suggest placing the person away from the main flow of ‘traffic’ in the office.
  • Use dividers or a booth to work in or try headphones to cut out sound if possible.
  • Provide continued monitoring and arrange regular meetings – even 5 mins to check progress.
  • Encourage and help to set up a diary system, task lists and reminders/alarms.
  • Show how to save and ‘back up’ work.
  • Set up a system to organise paperwork, e.g. using colour-coding.
  • Always indicate priority of tasks given.
  • Break tasks into parts.
  • Reinforce processes – embedding may take time, not because of lack of understanding but because it takes time to get used to remembering to do the processes.

What is ADHD?

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