What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.  It was previously known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age and may become noticeable when a child’s circumstances change, such as when they start school. Parents then may be called into the school repeatedly to be told that their child is misbehaving and failing to reach learning objectives. Children are often diagnosed between 6 to 12 years of age, and it is more commonly seen in boys. Symptoms may improve as they reach their teens and adulthood. However, some adults still shown signs of ADHD, and if they were not diagnosed as children, they can discuss this with their GP.

Other symptoms can include poor organisation, difficulty following instructions, struggling with social situations, impulsiveness and the individual may find getting ready for school or work to be tasking.

On occasion, ADHD in adults is associated with Bipolar disorder, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), drugs, crime, and employment difficulties.

Assessments & Diagnosis

It should be remembered that most children struggle with inattention at times, however if a parent is concerned, they can discuss with the school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) or GP.

Cause of ADHD

The exact cause is unknown, but it is known to run in families and research has shown some differences in the brains of people with ADHD. There is evidence that premature birth, low birth rate, or smoking / alcohol / drug abuse during pregnancy may contribute. ADHD is sometimes found in conjunction with learning difficulties. It is sometimes associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome and dyslexia.


Whilst there is no cure, however symptoms may improve with age. ADHD can be managed with appropriate educational support and advice for both children and parents, assistive technology, and if appropriate, medication which includes Methylphenidate (Ritalin). Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is sometimes helpful for adults.

Assistive Technology

There is a range of assistive technology that can help different aspects of ADHD.

Products including sophisticated digital voice recordersnote taking software and recording pens are especially useful, as these products  can help with the individuals memory and organisation. 

Mind mapping software may be helpful, for example by assisting the user in motivation and concentrating on the task in hand, whether it be following a class, lecturer, or meeting, revision, or composing an essay. It can also assist in organisation and prioritisation.

Other products can assist with conditions such as dyslexia which may be more common amongst people with ADHD. These include Read & Write Gold which can assist with spelling, reading, and concentration, and also the Dragon voice recognition software. We can also provide workplace coaching where disabilities impact on an employee’s work, and assist employers in their role and responsibilities.

This article is written by dyslexic.com & iansyst trainer, Geoff Cooper.

Do you have any experiences with ADHD? Is there a particular piece of assistive tech that you have found useful? Let us know in the comments!

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