Information about ADHD


What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition which affects those parts of the brain that control attention, impulses and concentration. It is thought to affect 1% to 5% of school age children. Symptoms of ADHD are usually first noticed in early childhood. The behaviour of children with ADHD is often more difficult to manage as compared to that of other children of a similar age. Children with ADHD are not being deliberately difficult and the symptoms affect most areas of life such as school, home and friendships.

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Here are some of the questions you have asked us:

What are the signs?

Poor attention and concentration

Children with ADHD may:concentration

  • Fail to pay close attention to details or makes careless errors in schoolwork or other activities requiring concentration.
  • Have trouble keeping attention on tasks or play
  • Not appear to listen to instructions
  • Have trouble organising activities and tasks
  • Dislike or avoid tasks that involve sustained mental effort (homework, schoolwork)


Children with ADHD may:

  • Be restless/cannot sit still or do any one thing for very long.
  • Talk excessively
  • Have trouble playing quietly or engaging in leisure activity
  • Suffer from mood swings and “social clumsiness”
  • Be described as ‘running on a motor’.


Children with ADHD may:

  • Answers questions before they have been asked.
  • Find it hard to take turns and can be disruptive in play.
  • Act without thinking or break rules in a thoughtless way.

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What are the causes?

There is no clear cause. Genetic factors are important. ADHD often runs in families. There is some evidence that boys are three times more likely to suffer from ADHD than girls.

When children go through an assessment for ADHD we sometimes find parents identify similar struggles. As a service we can also sign post adults to services who provide assessments of ADHD if that feels helpful.

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Will children with ADHD behave in the same way in different environment?

The behavioural problems will affect most areas of life i.e. home, school and friendships. However, different environments may affect the child’s level of functioning. Unhappy or chaotic environments may contribute to the disorder, whilst a safe, happy and structured environment can enable the child to meet their full potential. We can offer support to parents to help think about the demands they make in a typical day as life can feel very challenging at times (please see information about parenting course). (MUM LINK)

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ADHD Assessment and Diagnosis

Why is it important to identify and treat ADHD?

Although people with ADHD can be very successful in life, without identification and proper treatment, ADHD may have serious long term consequences, which can include under performance at school, unhappiness, problems with relationships, problems keeping a job and even criminal behaviour. Early identification by a healthcare professional is therefore very important to ensure that the child can fulfill his/her full potential.

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Who can make a diagnosis?

The diagnosis can be made by healthcare professionals, such as Child Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, and Pediatricians. In Islington CAMHS there are multi disciplinary teams of health professionals including Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Family Psychotherapists and others who carry out these assessments.

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Are there difficulties in diagnosing ADHD?

  • There are no blood or other medical tests that can diagnose ADHD
  • All children may have some problems with self-control
  • Other problems can result in behaviour similar to ADHD e.g. specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, major life disruptions and stresses
  • ADHD can exists in conjunction with many other conditions whose symptoms can overlap and mask those of ADHD e.g. Autism spectrum disorders, language disorders, developmental co-ordination disorders and anxiety disorders.

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When is a diagnosis given?

Clinicians make decisions from their assessments as to whether the child meets diagnostic criteria. This assessment will involve:

  • Asking parents about their child’s development and family history
  • Asking about family relationships
  • Carrying out a face to face assessment with the child or young person
  • Observing and receiving information about a child’s behaviour in different settings, especially at school.
  • Completing particular questionnaires or rating scales

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The assessment may also involve:

  • Assessment of a child’s level of cognitive functioning and development to inform the appropriate ways of helping meet the child’s learning needs

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Interventions and Treatment for ADHD

What can Islington Community CAMHS offer a child with ADHD and their family?

The Islington Community CAMHS Service offers or recommends interventions which are individualised to meet the specific needs of each child and family. Treating ADHD often requires medical, educational, behavioural and psychological interventions:

  • Explanation and understanding of the condition
  • Parenting Support to enable parents to develop strategies to best manage their child’s behaviour. An ADHD course for parents is often available in Islington and parents who have done this course highly recommend it.
  • Behavioural management for tantrums, aggression and low self-esteem. These behavioural interventions could be in the form of:
    • Family work focusing on management strategies
    • Individual work focusing on changing behaviours
  • Advice and support to teachers (see below)
  • Every school in Islington has a CAMHS clinician attached who can provide observations of children and contributes to the assessment process.(see SCHOOL SERVICE)
  • Prescription and monitoring of medication
  • Medication and ADHD
  • Parenting course with a focus on understanding and managing behaviour (see ADHD PARENTING COURSE 123 magic )

This is a picture of our most recent ADHD parenting course at CAMHS


Below are some comments from the current ADHD parenting course which started in January 2014:

“This is the only day in the week which I break my neck to get to…”

“It’s the highlight of my week”

“I felt offended at first and dismissed the course for so long, but now I’ve found out that I’m not alone”

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What support is offered to children with ADHD and their teachers at school?

  • Health professionals from Islington Community CAMHS Service can offer school consultations to discuss assessments and diagnosis, help in problem solving behaviour management issues, and discuss the administration of medication.
  • The school’s Educational Psychologist is the appropriate resource to assess a child’s Special Educational Needs. The educational psychologist will also be able to provide useful classroom strategies.
  • Additional school based support such as speech and language therapy, physical activities, education therapy and social skills groups may also be beneficial for children with ADHD.

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Support group for parents and carers who care for a child with ADHD

We run our support group for parents on the First Thursday of the month. We hope to offer a nurturing and supportive space for parents and carers who look after a child with a diagnosis of ADHD. The space will provide opportunities to;

  • Meet and speak with others having similar experiences
  • Hear from guest speakers
  • Access any new resources
  • Gain some rest and recuperation

The group will run for two hours of the first Thursday of every month, beginning at 9:30am at:

Walter Sickert Community Centre

Canonbury Crescent


N1 2FB


Date Topic Guest Speakers
6th April 2017
2nd May 2017 Relaxation for children and young people with ADHD Dr Jen Gallagher (Clinical Psychologist) Islington CAMHS
1st June 2017 TBC TBC
6th July 2017 TBC TBC
3rd August (Summer Holidays) TBC TCB
7th September 2017 TBC TBC
5th October 2017 TBC TBC
2nd November 2017 TBC TBC
7th December 2017 TBC TBC

Workshop for those who care for children with ADHD

If you have any ideas of the types of topics and speakers you would like to hear from please send Eloise Wynter an email at Alternatively, if you are a professional, parent/carer or adult with ADHD and feel you could offer an informative and thought provoking talk to the support group please email us at CAMHS.

Please also see our ADHD parents workshop leaflet

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that caring for a child with ADHD can be both rewarding and at times pose unique challenges for parents. You may have questions that parents in the same situation also have. If you have any questions that may way be helpful for other parents and carers please send your questions to the ADHD pathway ( and the team of clinicians will do our best to answer these questions and will post the responses here.

Useful Contacts, Resources and Further Reading

General Reading for Parents and Carers:

Information Sheets:

–   Ideas for successful learning with children who have ADHD

–   ADHD & Language Advice

–   ADHD Information from the BMJ Group

–   Parenting the ADHD Child

–  ADHD Factsheet

–  Medication Information



Please click here for a list of our recomended books and our books on precription scheme

Useful Websites

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Last updated on 30th March 2017