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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that that affects the regions of the brain involved in planning, focusing and carrying out task. There are three main sub-types of ADHD, inattentive ADHD, hyperactive ADHD and combination ADHD.


Inattentive ADHD sub-type presentation may look like;

  • Making careless mistakes

  • Difficulty keeping focus

  • Not completing activities

  • Appearing not be paying attention.

  • Disorganised (even when supported to be organised)

  • Frequently losing things.

  • Avoiding activities which require sustained focus and attention.

  • Easily distracted.

  • Appears forgetful.


Hyperactive sub-type presentation may look like;

  • Elevated levels of energy

  • Continual fidgeting

  • Difficulty staying seated when supposed to be seated.

  • Highly talkative

  • Difficulty engaging in quiet activities

  • Difficulty waiting turn- especially in conversation.

  • Blurting out the answer to question out of turn.

  • Elevated levels of movement


The combined subtype is a mix of both presentations. It is important to know that ADHD presentation can vary daily, hourly and situationally due to varying levels of brain chemicals. It is vital to remember that the person is not choosing to be forgetful, interrupt and be distracted and it is normal for task focus to vary from day to day.


Strategies to support self worth and self esteem


  • Celebrate the positives. Having ADHD brings many strengths! There are multiple neurodiverse people who have used their different brain wiring in multiple positive ways.

  • Advocate, educate and adapt. A person with ADHD presentation can be hugely affected by how the system around them responds. Ask your family, friends, teachers and anyone who regularly see’s your child to learn about the condition. Name the adaptations your child needs and ask them to support.

  • A lot of the time, young people with ADHD presentation can be misunderstood to be the ‘trouble maker’ or ‘disruptive’. This can have a negative impact on how they view themselves. It is important to praise and recognise when a young person is successfully self-regulating. It can be exhausting to regulate and takes a lot of focus. Positive recognition and reinforcement can significantly impact self-esteem.  


Strategies which support Brain Functioning


  • Research suggest that a healthy lifestyle can help support brain neurotransmitter level. Ensure your child/ young person has access to exercise/ movement daily and regularly.


  • If your child is losing focus, implement a movement break. Getting the heart rate up for 90 seconds can help your child activate the focus regions of the brain (Hallowell and Ratey; 2021) In a classroom setting this might look like ‘Being the person to hand out the dictionaries or  stack the chairs. At home this may look like ‘dancing around to favourite music’, ‘going for a bounce on the trampoline’.


  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, the research about diet is mixed. However, there is some suggestion that a healthy diet (and use of omega 3) can improve brain functioning (Derbeyshire, 2017).


Strategies to help with organisation/ Time management


  • Use timers! People with ADHD often have a poor sense of time. This often causes lateness and stress. Visual timers are often super helpful for people with ADHD, this could be a sand timer, or a digital count down on smart devices such as Amazon Echo (please note the ones with clock displays/ tv displays are better than just sound as you can visually see the clock counting down).


  • Smart speakers are often a best friend for people with ADHD, you can create audio routines on Alexa, (see example)


  • Use visual timetables. People often reserve visual timetables to children who have limited verbal ability. People with ADHD often process information differently, creating visual diagrams including now and next can be useful. (See example).


  • Often people with ADHD are ‘yes people’ and become overwhelmed with busy diaries and people pleasing. Diaries and prioritising ‘down time’ is essential, make sure there is time to do the things they love (whether this is gaming, watching favourite movie, getting lost in a book etc).


  • Try not to overload with verbal instructions as it is too overwhelming. For example telling your child ‘get your bag, shoes, coat and use the toilet’ will often result to task not being completed and all family members feeling despondent. Instead do one step at a time. (Or consider creating a routine on a smart device/ paper visual timetable as described above).

Strategies to help with task performance


  • ​Break up task into manageable chunks. This a skill to be taught to somebody with ADHD and often does not come naturally. You may have to coach them to learn this by planning and doing with them.


  • Many people with ADHD have sensory and movement needs. Moving and fidgeting often help people with ADHD to maintain focus. Use of fidget toys and doodling can help somebody remain in the task focus regions of their brain.


  • Movement breaks are helpful and should be incorporated into all tasks. Some Young people are happy to use ‘exit cards’ at school to take a movement break, but some find this embarrassing. If they’re embarrassed, please create opportunity for them to move, this may be asking them to deliver errands, of enlisting them to clear the table at family events.



Strategies to support emotional regulation


  • Prioritising self care above all other activities. This will support brain functioning and reduce stress. Often people with ADHD can experience Alexithymia and not realise they are feeling overwhelmed until the feeling is really big. Creating routines which include things that help you feel good is essential.


  • Having a shared language which makes sense to everybody around them. Sometimes a check-in involving traffic lights ‘such as red/amber/ green) can aid conversations and understanding.


  • Pre-agreeing a plan to manage overwhelm can also be useful, for example, if I feel ‘Red’ then I need space, don’t talk to me, bring me a drink of water. If I feel ‘Amber’ then I know I need some space and to practise deep breathing.


  • Having emotional regulations tools, visual and available. For example, having mindfulness ‘You Tube’ video saved on favourites on the phone, or leaving out sensory tools in easily accessible places.


Book Recommendations for supporting Children through to Adults
















Workbook Recommendation for parents to use with 8 - 13 year old

















Book Recommendations for supporting Children & Young People














Book Recommendations for 6 – 12 year olds about the experience of having ADHD.  The first is focused on the inattentive type of ADHD and is about a girl. The second is about a boy.



















YouTube/ Videos

How to ADHD’ You Tube Channels have lots of lots of useful videos mainly aimed at teens and adults.   The intro is below













ADHD UK-Lots of useful video’s suitable for children, teens and adults













Useful Websites:

Additude Magazine

How to ADHD


ADHD Foundation


E. Derbyshire, "Do Omega-3/6 Fatty Acids Have a Therapeutic Role in Children and Young People with ADHD?", Journal of Lipids, vol. 2017, Article ID 6285218, 9 pages, 2017.

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