What do swimmer Michael Phelps, gymnast Louis Smith, judo practitioner Ashley McKenzie and around five per cent of today’s school children have in common?
The answer is that they all have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The condition is more common in boys than girls and the main symptoms include attention problems, restlessness or constant fidgeting and being easily distracted, although not everyone with ADHD will have all of these.
Children who suffer from ADHD are often misunderstood as being badly behaved and this lack of awareness has prompted neurodevelopmental paediatrician Susan Yarney to write a new guide for teachers, parents and friends.
Can I Tell You About ADHD? outlines what ADHD is and how to help children with the condition, both at home and at school.
Advice for teachers includes breaking tasks down “into small chunks,” giving short, clear and concise instructions, asking fellow pupils who are not easily distracted to act as role-models and placing children with ADHD away from distractions.
Transition times and lesson changes can be distracting for youngsters with ADHD, while checklists and planners can help them to organise their schoolwork more easily.
The book also features a child’s own account of the condition and what it feels like. “I sometimes do or say things without thinking, which often gets me into trouble,” he explains. “I often interrupt conversations without meaning to. I don’t mean to be rude. Sometimes I find it very hard to control some of my behaviour and feel really sad when I upset someone and get into trouble a lot.”
Can I Tell You About ADHD? is published by Jessica Kingsley and costs £7.99. The book is part of the Can I Tell You About…? series. Other titles highlight conditions like asthma, OCD, epilepsy and Asperger Syndrome.