Are you new to ADHD? Confused by what it all means? Unsure of where to go for support? Then these videos will help you. They’re being used in our post-diagnosis sessions by our ADHD coach, Val Ivens and founder Gill Sears.

Watch them here

ADHD is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects the neurotransmitters ability to transfer messages through the frontal lobes of the brain. It’s listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the set of guidelines established by psychiatrists for diagnosing mental illness.

No-one yet knows what causes ADHD; much more research needs to be done. Here’s what is factual:


The normal (control) brain compared with the ADHD brain due to lack of dopamine.

ADHD is a chemical imbalance in the brain which creates poor transmission of messages  because of  low levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which carry messages from one neuron to another. Someday, when our knowledge of the brain is greater, the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD will be more nuanced.


The ADHD brain doesn’t have the “working memory” or executive function of the normal brain. The above video explains it well.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a group of neuro symptoms which include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness

This make the person with ADHD:

  • have significant attention problems (makes careless mistakes)
  • appear restless (always “on the go”)
  • fidgety
  • overactive
  • impulsive (act before thinking)
  • distractible
  • disorganised
  • have mood swings (unable to manage emotions)
  • speak before thinking by blurting out and interrupting
  • have trouble finishing work or school projects
  • Impatient

What to look out for ..

A child with ADHD has a one-in-four chance of having a parent with ADHD. It’s also likely that another close family member, such as a sibling, will also have ADHD.


The SW London & St George’s NeuroDevelopmental Team at has produced this NDT ADHD Resource Pack Richmond – for parents

ADHD can often bring with it other significant clinical problems (comorbidities) including anxiety & depression. ADHD is often associated with specific learning difficulties throughout education

ADHD is NOT the result of damage to the brain but a dysfunction that means the brain doesn’t work in the way it should. Studies show that ADHD may affect certain areas of the brain that allow us to solve problems, plan ahead, understand others’ actions, and control our impulses. It begins in childhood and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood

Symptoms of ADHD tend to be first noticed at an early age, and may become more noticeable when a child’s circumstances change, such as when they start school. Most cases are diagnosed in children between the ages of 6 and 12.

Getting help

See our pre- diagnosis pathway

Many children go through phases where they are restless or inattentive. This is often completely normal and does not necessarily mean they have ADHD.

However, you should consider raising your concerns with your child’s teacher, their school’s special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or GP if you think their behaviour may be different to most children their age.

Richmond & Kingston Borough Councils operate the SPA service (Single Point of Access) which is the first port of call for diagnosis of ADHD. Tel: 020 8547 5008 Out of hours Tel: 020 8770 5000

It’s also a good idea to speak to your GP if you are an adult and you think you may have ADHD, but you were not diagnosed with the condition as a child.



The Association for Child & Adolescent Mental Health has an excellent Guide to ADHD


Are you New to ADHD? Not sure what to do? We have launched a page of videos which take you through the journey from spotting the condition to what help is available. Take a look under our tab “Videos” for the page called New to ADHD?


Dr Martin Newman, Consultant Psychiatrist, CAMHS Richmond has allowed us to show his Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Dr Newman slides for his Talk to us on May 9th 2018



The National Institute of Clinical Excellence  gives guidelines on treatment and states ADHD starts during child development but frequently persists through adolescence and into  adulthood.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Royal College of Psychiatrists offer this factsheet



Here are some adhd-facts adapted from R. A. Barkley & K. R. Murphy ‘s Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A clinical workbook


   Mental health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation says ADHD means the brain doesn’t function in the way it should. Read their leaflet all_about_adhd



Up to 50% of children will have a dual diagnosis. Autism is managed but ADHD has highly effective treatments. Here’s what The National Autistic Society says about ADHD



Here’s what Great Ormond Street Hospital has to say about ADHD and also read a Mother’s story about Understanding ADHD



If you have just found out your child may have ADHD, watch this video by Dr Hallowell, a respected, leading World authority on ADHD



Video of Childhood/adolescent ADHD and further research background by Dr Mitul Mehta



Listen to this podcast What is ADHD –  from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families



ADHD is a broad term, it has 3 sub-types:

Predominantly inattentive

Also called attention deficit disorder or ADD, predominantly inattentive ADHD has 6 or more inattentive symptoms and fewer than 6 hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, although hyperactivity-impulsivity may still exist to a certain extent.

Children with predominantly inattentive ADHD are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other kids. They may sit still, but struggle being attentive. Such children are often overlooked because parents and teachers may not notice that the child has ADHD.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD has the opposite combination compared to predominantly inattentive ADHD: 6 or more symptoms are in the hyperactive-impulsive categories, and fewer than 6 inattentive symptoms. Children with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD are more hyperactive and impulsive, although inattention may still exist to some degree.

Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive

As its label suggests, combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive ADHD occurs when one is inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. In these cases, 6 or more inattentive symptoms exist, as well as 6 or more hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. This is the most common type of ADHD among children.

To be diagnosed with ADHD, children must have any combination of these symptoms for at least 6 months at levels surpassing those of other children of the same age

diagnostic criteria for ADHD

Only a Consultant Psychiatrist or paediatrician can provide an ADHD diagnosis, after a thorough evaluation. If you think you or your child might have ADHD, contact your GP or SPA (see ADHD Diagnosis Pathways)


You may like to use this ADHD Symptoms Test to check if your child may have ADHD



The Society for the Promotion of ADHD Research & Knowledge has an excellent FAQ list to guide you through your queries



Health Channel TV provides an insight into What is ADHD?


CaptureTesting for ADHD: you may like to use this ChildAssessmentPackage to check if your child has the condition



 Dr. Russell Barkley explains everything there is to know about ADHD in this in-depth video Watching this presentation is well worth the investment in time.



CaptureA good resource reference on ADHD can be found at the Patient website


If you’re an adult with ADHD visit AADD-UK otherwise read on …

Suzy_webADHD: A lifespan approach: Suzy Young paper on ADHD



The effect of ADHD on the life of an individual, their family, and community from preschool to adult life by Val Harpin. Read here: The effect of ADHD by VA Harpin


Here is a useful ADHD_Action_Guide



The BMJ has produced this audio explaining ADHD



Click the photo for a 100 day plan for evaluating Adhd



Click on photo for a study into ADHD



Click on this for an excellent audio with 13 tips to help you



Do people grow out of ADHD?

Some children grow out of ADHD; others have problems that continue into adolescence and beyond. Approximately two out of five children with ADHD continue to have difficulties at age 18. The main symptoms of ADHD, such as attention difficulties, may improve as children get older, but behavioural problems such as disobedience or aggression may become worse if a child does not receive help. In particular, boys who are hyperactive and aggressive tend to become unpopular with other children. It is therefore very important for children to receive help as early as possible, to prevent them from getting socially isolated and from developing other emotional and behaviour problems that can persist into adult life


Why is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) so often associated with other conditions (comorbidities)?
ADHD frequently occurs alongside other conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette’s syndrome and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). There are several reasons why these linked conditions, or co-morbidities, are so often associated with ADHD.

Sometimes ADHD is a risk for behavioural problems such as conduct disorder or ODD. This is partly because the symptoms of ADHD can affect a child’s relationships at home or with their peers, making the child more likely to become antisocial or depressed. Sometimes the ADHD is actually the result of another problem such as autism or a learning difficulty. ADHD may also have a common root in the brain with other developmental problems, such as dyslexia.

Co-morbid conditions can be hard to disentangle, and this is part of the reason that specialist assessment is advised for a child with ADHD.

How common is ADHD?

ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK. It’s unknown exactly how many people have the condition, but most estimates suggest if affects around 2-5% of school-aged children and young people.

Childhood ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in boys than girls.

Girls with ADHD often have a form of the condition where the main symptoms relate to problems with attention rather than hyperactivity, which can cause less noticeable symptoms. It is therefore possible that ADHD could be underdiagnosed in girls, and could be more common than previously thought.

ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability, although it is more common in people with learning difficulties. People with ADHD may also have additional problems, such as sleep and anxiety disorders.

Although the term β€˜ADHD’ is a relatively new one, the symptoms of the disorder were first described over 2,000 years ago. Today, it is one of the most widely researched disorders in medicine



Adhd guide

Check to see if you may have ADHD. Click ADHD_Action_Guide


Why do we hear so much about ADHD today? If it’s a brain condition, shouldn’t our ancestors have had it too?
Probably our ancestors did have it too. There is much more concern about it now but very little sign that the actual rate is going up. Perhaps ADHD was much less of a disadvantage in earlier periods of our evolution.

Richmond-based educational psychologists show this video to parents and children. It’s on our YouTube channel: