From education to employment

Supporting a student with ADHD

October marks #ADHDAwareness Month. With this in mind Lisette Kuijt, child psychologist at the online tutoring platform, GoStudent, shares insight into what ADHD is, and offers advice for supporting a student with ADHD.  

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders that is diagnosed in childhood. It is characterised by trouble with regulating attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. ADHD does not look the same in every person with the diagnosis – not all will show the trouble with attention, and not all will show the symptoms of hyperactivity. 

Symptoms of ADHD usually develop quite early in childhood. In most cases, the disorder is diagnosed between the age of six and twelve years old.

The inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity that characterise ADHD present differently in each person, but also may change over time. 

There are, however, some signs that a person can show in day-to-day life that may indicate that they have ADHD, such as:

  • Talking out of turn often
  • Often losing belongings
  • Difficulty with prioritising the right tasks
  • Moving or fidgeting a lot 
  • Losing interest in hobbies quickly after picking them up
  • Trouble initiating tasks, postponing tasks
  • Being late often 

How can you talk to your child about ADHD and best support them? 

Getting a diagnosis and hearing that they are “different” from other children, may be difficult for your child. If you talk to your child about ADHD, be sure that you create a safe environment in which your child feels loved and accepted. Avoid the words “disorder” and “problems”. ADHD does not define your child and has nothing to do with their intelligence or chances in the future. If your child worries about this, consider showing them what others with ADHD have achieved – a lot of celebrities are quite open about their diagnosis. Despite their struggles with attention and inhibition, people with ADHD are often more creative thinkers and can be better at multitasking!

In most cases, ADHD is genetic. This means that it is very probable that someone in your near family is experiencing similar symptoms as your child. Talking to this relative can make your child feel less alone and more understood. 

Symptoms of ADHD present themselves less often in structured surroundings. To support your child with ADHD to be able to deal with their symptoms a little better, you will have to adapt your home and family life. Try to come up with a routine that enables you to work together to get done what has to get done. To help your child keep to the routine that you have created together, place visible lists and planners throughout the house that they can refer to and rely on. 

Related Articles