What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition resulting from a person’s brain developing differently at key milestones through childhood. It impacts a person’s behaviour and the parts of the brain that help us with task execution, focus and planning.

Individuals with ADHD can have predominantly hyperactive, impulsive behaviour that can impact people’s lives in many aspects, including personal and interpersonal relationships, daily functioning, and educational and professional accomplishments. But that doesn’t mean we need to focus solely on the challenges that a person with ADHD might encounter.

ADHD sits within the Neurodiversity spectrum and is much more than a set of behaviours. At Leaf Complex Care, we emphasise that there is no single “right” way of thinking and that being different is a good thing.

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Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

Children and adults with ADHD may sometimes appear restless, lacking focus and struggling to hold attention. ADHD can lead to decreased social experience and functioning, low self-esteem, and low self-control and may increase self-criticism, depression and sensitivity in the affected individual’s life. But, with the proper support and care, people with ADHD can lead happy, fulfilling lives. ADHD diagnosis is becoming more frequent, but with shared characteristics of other things, such as anxiety, diagnosing ADHD in adults can be challenging.

Children with ADHD may have challenges controlling their impulsive behaviour, paying attention, waiting and sitting still. Whilst adults with ADHD symptoms might find socialising and maintaining relationships hard.

ADHD symptoms vary by person, but the most common symptoms include the following:

People with ADHD can also be terrifically adventurous, creative, and empathetic.

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adhd causes and risk factors
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Signs of ADHD in Children

Most children sometimes have challenges focusing and can be forgetful. However, the symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity in children with ADHD are notably greater than expected for their age and stage of development.

As symptoms continue, they can cause home and school difficulties in task management, communication and relationships.

There are 3 presentations of ADHD signs and symptoms, each containing the different signs of behaviour that could be recognised. Each type has its own symptoms of ADHD, which may include:




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Signs of ADHD in Teens

Teens that deal with attention deficit hyperactive disorder experience similar signs and symptoms to those that children with ADHD experience. ADHD symptoms in teens include:

When changes in hormones are experienced during the teenage years, ADHD symptoms may increase. However, there might be activities teens with ADHD can execute very well without difficulty. The ADHD mind is a “mind wired for interests”. When these interests are fostered, and people are allowed to focus on their preferred activities part of their life, the result is generally better mental health and happiness.

Signs of ADHD in Girls

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in girls, is being recognised more often these days; it was long thought the condition affected boys at a much higher incidence. ADHD has three main presentations (hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive and combined presentation), and girls are more likely present with inattentiveness.

Let’s take a look at the list of other symptoms in girls:

Girls with ADHD might not always experience all these signs. Although, some of the characteristics are more noticeable before and during menstruation. 

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What Causes ADHD?

According to scientists and researchers, the causes of ADHD remain somewhat undefined. But what is essential to know is that the disorder runs in the family genes. Scientists also study the following additional causes and risk factors that include:

  • Genetics

  • Brain function

  • Prenatal exposure

  • Brain or head injury

But the causes of ADHD are still unclear. However, genes and heredity play a massive role in developing ADHD. According to genetic research, people with ADHD are more likely to have parents or siblings with this neurotype. So, the hereditary component determines that the parent might pass the condition on to their child.

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ADHD Diagnosis

ADHD is often diagnosed at a young age and, in most cases, lasts into adulthood. More recently, as the diagnosis has become more accessible, record numbers of adults are being diagnosed.

Observing a child’s behaviour helps to diagnose ADHD. A thorough history of the child’s behaviour from parents and teachers is one step in the process that leads to a diagnosis of ADHD. The symptoms of many other conditions, including anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, and some learning disabilities, can be similar to those of ADHD, which cannot be diagnosed with a single test.

A diagnosis of ADHD involves assessing a child’s or adult’s various aspects of daily life, such as memory, learning, executive function, and reasoning. In cases of suspected learning disabilities, an assessment might include an IQ test and tests for reading, writing, and math.

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ADHD Treatment

Treatment for Children with ADHD

There are complementary approaches that can be used in combination with therapy to lessen symptoms because therapy is subjective for every child. Therapy could be a mix of behaviour strategies, the right nutrition, and ADHD medication. It can also entail taking vitamins and supplements for ADHD, engaging in mindfulness, and spending lots of time in nature. 

The complete approach, depending on the age of the person with ADHD, may include the following:

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Accessing training on ADHD for parents is a great first step, especially when children are diagnosed very early. Getting the right treatment for ADHD involves planning, research, persistence, and organisation.

Treatment for Adults with ADHD

Adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD can still take the therapies that best suit their needs, although ADHD in adults has been the subject of less research than that in children.

Adults with ADHD undergo treatments that will help with symptom relief and ease the coping with the condition on a daily life basis. Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is treated using

  • medications

  • behaviour therapy

  • both as a combination

Medications are frequently the primary line of treatment for adults with ADHD, but Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and other psychological modalities can also be effective.

Adults with ADHD can learn to control symptoms when they occur by working with one or more health and mental health specialists.

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Is ADHD a Learning Disability?

Despite not being a learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects learning and is sometimes considered more of a learning difficulty. ADHD is not identified as a learning disability because it only affects some areas of schooling without impairing the capacity to understand spoken or written language.

Because of their executive functioning challenges, many children with ADHD may have trouble studying and doing their homework. This does not mean they have a learning disability – purely a preferred way of processing information.

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Support for Children and Adults with ADHD

National organisations that help people with ADHD offer information, support, and advocacy to people with the condition, their families, teachers, and health workers.

Doctors, paediatricians, nurses, speech therapists, psychologists, support workers, coaches, and educators, to name just a few, are just a few of the specialists that can help. They can spread awareness about ADHD and give information and educational resources to people.

It is very important to acknowledge that people with ADHD have the superpower of hyper-focus and can lead with exceptional strengths. Furthermore, support and inclusion is the essential – instead of trying to fix people with ADHD, society should embrace these neurological differences.

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Breaking the Stigma: The Positive Side of ADHD

If an individual is diagnosed with ADHD, they should be optimistic about the condition’s potential strengths instead of its disadvantages. People with ADHD have potential skills and advantages known as “ADHD superpowers,” showing the bright side of ADHD, followed by some incredible skills that make people with ADHD extremely successful, more optimistic and creative. In fact, many entrepreneurs have been diagnosed with ADHD later in life.

ADHD gives people a unique perspective on the world that people without ADHD are unlikely to understand. Hyperfocus is not a skill that everyone possesses. A person with ADHD who reaches this state can genuinely use the time productively and complete incredible tasks. 

Let’s talk about hyperactivity. Many world athletes have ADHD, which gives them an edge in engaging in physical activity. For example, Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player in history, yet this athlete has a diagnosis of ADHD.

We have listed some unique skills and qualities that ADHD brings to the brilliant minds of people with the condition, including:


  • High levels of energy

  • Creativity 

  • Hyperfocus

  • Spontaneity 

  • Self-awareness

  • Resilience 

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How Leaf Complex Care offers support for ADHD

At Leaf Complex Care, we value the people we serve, and our company’s culture impacts the way we think, act and interact with people.

We have consistent teams of skilled and compassionate support workers supporting individuals with the empathy and understanding they deserve. We accept people as they are, and through our humanised support, they become more independent. The active support we provide for people with ADHD is always through collaboration and consistent routines with minimal changes tailoring our support to the individual’s needs and aspirations.

With our proactive approach, we help people to find meaning and purpose in their lives.

Contact us now for any further information.

Quick Summary

  • ADHD is called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when it really should be referred to as attention wired for interests.

  • People with ADHD exhibit signs of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity but also can attain incredible hyperfocus, self-awareness and exceptional creativity.

  • When it comes to developing ADHD, genes and heredity are significant factors.

  • The diagnosis of ADHD in adults can be tricky since some symptoms of the disorder can resemble those of other conditions, such as anxiety disorders or mood changes.

  • The positive side of ADHD – people with ADHD may possess qualities and benefits referred to as “ADHD superpowers”.

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not a learning disability – but is considered a learning difficulty.

  • At Leaf Complex Care, the people we support are cared for by trained and consistent teams of passionate support workers who treat them with the respect and understanding they deserve. We accept people for who they are, and with humanised care and empowerment, we help people build better lives.