Kids with ADHD may have poor concentration, poor impulse control and can be overactive, but not all children who have these traits have ADHD

Causes

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but there are factors that may be associated with the condition, including:

  • genetics – kids with ADHD are more likely to have a family member with ADHD 
  • alcohol, smoking or drug exposure in pregnancy 
  • premature birth, or a low birth weight.

Signs that your child may have ADHD

You may notice the following in your child:

  • Distraction – your child may have trouble paying attention, forget instructions and not complete tasks 
  • Impulsivity – your child may lose control of their emotions easily and act without thinking 
  • Overactivity – your child may fidget and generally be restless. 

Kids with ADHD are also more likely to have: 

  • learning difficulties 
  • anxiety 
  • depression 
  • disruptive behaviour, which your child’s teacher or day care provider may notice.  

When to visit a doctor

It’s normal for kids to be very active and to act out sometimes, it doesn’t necessarily mean your child has ADHD.

However, if you find your child’s level of activity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness is severe and interferes with their learning and social relationships, you may want to take them to a doctor. 

Your doctor may refer your child to another paediatrician, child psychiatrist or psychologist to assess them. 

Managing ADHD

There's no treatment or cure for ADHD, but behavioural and parenting strategies are often helpful for pre-school aged childrenMedications may be prescribed for older children with ADHD. 

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne has useful strategies to help your child at home and at school. 

ADHD – ways to help children at school and home

Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne

Visit Website

The Royal Children's Hospital is a major specialist paediatric hospital in Victoria.

Need free support or advice?

Call PlunketLine 24/7 on 0800 933 922