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A guide to ADHD

Researcher & Writer: Nisa Jasrotia

Illustrator: Ashley ZHANG

ADHD is the most prevalent behavioural disorder amongst children around the globe, with 6.4% of children and 2.5% of adults being affected by it in Hong Kong alone. Statistics aside, some of you may be wondering, well what exactly is ADHD and how can we support those who have it?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This means a person with ADHD struggles with impulse control and paying attention. ADHD can manifest in many different ways and everyone’s case is different. It is important to note that there is no one way. For some children, this may mean that they zone out more easily than others, especially in class. On the other hand, children may also become more hyperactive or impulsive.

Contrary to popular belief, ADHD cannot be developed. It is usually inherited and genetics play a role, however, it is much more complicated than just a single genetic mutation. Studies have shown that people are more likely to develop ADHD if their parents or relatives have it. The people at highest risk for developing ADHD are people who were born prematurely with low birth weight, diagnosed with epilepsy or suffered from a brain injury.

Sometimes it can be hard for parents to tell whether their child is showing signs of ADHD or not and it is vital to diagnose ADHD during childhood, as there is a higher chance of treatment being quicker and more successful.

There are a few telltale signs that can help indicate if a child is suffering from ADHD. Some children may find it hard to listen and pay attention in class, which can lead to them missing important details. They may also fidget excessively, and become restless more often which can result in them having trouble staying focused and sitting still. ADHD can also have a social impact on children. Children may not think before they take action, which means they may grab things and push people as they find it hard to wait. They may also have strong emotional responses to small issues. It is important to note that these issues are common with most young children and with age it goes away. However, if it persists then there is a chance of it being ADHD. This is why it is vital for parents to closely observe their child’s be haviour, as ADHD can have a negative impact on their social and academic life.

While ADHD cannot be prevented, there are various therapies and treatments for ADHD. Medication such as Amphetamines and Methylphenidate help balance neurotransmitters in the brain and can improve hyperactivity and inattention very quickly. However, the most common way is through therapy. A few of the most common therapies for ADHD include behaviour therapy which helps children deal with tough situations and provide skills and strategies. Another type of therapy is psychotherapy, in which children can talk about their issues and ways to deal with their symptoms.

Additionally, there are many ways in which parents and teachers can support children. Teachers should aim to be more positive and encouraging to students, help them become organised (this could mean helping them manage their work), give clear instructions and give them more time to complete work. Breaks should be given to hyperactive children to encourage movement, as this will aid focus.

Like teachers, parents can also help by providing structure. Parents can help make a timetable for tasks that need to be completed and for sports, creative activities and free time. Meals could also be served around the same time which will help create a familiar routine so that children do not feel as overwhelmed. Adding sports into their routine can help children to use up all their extra energy which can help healthily reduce hyperactivity. It is also vital for children to get enough sleep every night, so they can focus better on everyday tasks.

ADHD doesn’t have to be a challenging experience and children should never have to suffer alone. With proper support and treatment children can be on a quick road to recovery!


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Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2019, June 25). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 8, 2022, from

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