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AD(H)D & "Dys"conditions - Beyond the disability

ADHD - Overview


What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is the name of a condition that combines a collection of symptoms. This condition is often accompanied alongside other “Dys” conditions (Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, etc) and is considered a spectrum disorder with Aspergers and Autism.


What is the relationship between Dyslexia & ADHD?

A diagnosis for Dyslexia (and other “Dys” conditions) is assessed through a series of practical diverse and measurable tests such as Academic, IQ, verbal reasoning etc... Based on the scores a diagnosis will be made. The practical educational testing evaluates personal aspects of an individual’s learning & performance but doesn’t examine their socio-emotional aspects.

AD(H)D is a social/environmental  evaluation of how a person interacts with people, social protocols, relationships, emotional perception of self and others. Basically how you fit in to the world and how the world meets your expectations.

You will find that the traits described for ADHD are also shared with the “Dys” conditions such as thinking outside of the box, observational abilities, reading people’s emotions, sleep problems, poor focus and concentration, forgetful, memory absence, argumentative, in own world at times, challenging views of authority...

The problem is that these people often feel they are alone/outsiders because they know they think differently and if not supported correctly, they are likely to suffer long-term depression or anxiety disorders.

Neurologically, new science is showing that the brains of both the “Dys” & ADHD are wired the same. The only difference is that they are two different diagnosis methods for different purposes. The Neurodiversity is the same and is natural throughout history exhibiting many more strengths than weaknesses in the natural world but a disadvantage (disability) in the socio-political state of  the current expectations of the modern world.


Two identical twins are assessed for physical agility traits. The parents are sat down and told the unfortunate news that one of the children has Dyslateral-Jumptivitus while, the other exhibited Dysprojetium-horizonalitus!!

Basically the first child would be less likely to win the High-Jump at school and the second not so good at the Long-Jump...  Fortunately we walk in our society and are not required to jump to our destination!

Badges and labels don’t always reflect the bigger picture. J


How is it diagnosed?

There are 3 aspects for which the person should exhibit 2 in excess to levels of normal (although the 3rd may be present to a lesser extent).

These aspects are Inattentive, Impulsive & Hyperactivity.

If you have Inattentive with Impulsive dominant traits, you would have what in America would be classed as “ADD” (Attention deficit disorder).
However, in the UK it is referred to as ADHD-Inattentive Type!
Hyperactivity is not evident to others and you would be most likely to be viewed by others as being lazy or away with the fairies at times.

If you have Impulsive with Hyperactivity as dominant traits, you would be described as “ADHD” (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

This is the more stereotypical public perception of ADHD with children being irritable, stubborn, vocal, physically active and expressive of often seen as a problem child! Unlike the “ADD” individual who can appear to be almost a contradiction.


Who can make the diagnosis?

To obtain a diagnosis is not a simple process as other medical conditions can produce similar symptoms and must be ruled out first. The other issue is that currently there is no simple paper evaluation or blood test you can take to give a clear result and as such, the following routes are defined when seeking an assessment for diagnosis.


Adults would initially need to see their GP to discuss their conditions and will be referred to a mental health practitioner. They will typically perform a screening test and then refer you to a Psychiatrist for a formal diagnosis. Do not be intimidated by the need for a Psychiatrist, as they are the medical specialist for the functioning & workings of the brain (a psychologist is about the mind). This can be a lengthy process through the NHS but if you are willing to pay, there are options to seek private assessment with the approval of your GP. Your School reports, family and friends may need to be consulted and questioned during the process of assessment to confirm the traits have been a constant in your life.


Parents can approach their GP or the School SEN co-ordinator if they have serious concerns about their child’s behaviour and well-being. However, if you were to state ADHD as a possible cause to the GP or School, they may be reluctant to pursue ADHD in the first instance as an answer for a child’s problems at home or school. Other avenues should be explored but often parents are left frustrated feeling they are ignored but support is available to mediate with you in these matters.

A formal diagnosis will be made when there is an agreement between the Parents, Paediatrician, School and an Educational Psychologist that, the child’s condition is evident in all areas of their life and not localised to a particular environment and that all medical avenues and been explored.

Remember that simply having an ADHD diagnosis will not solve the problem!

Understanding the condition, implementing practical strategies and changing the way the child functions in their daily lives will make for a smoother life for all concerned. But these can all be implemented prior to or while seeking assessment. Medication should be the last resort!


What is the cause and can it be treated?

It is believed to be caused by poor transmission of messages in the brain, and in particular by low levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which carry messages from one neuron to another. These neurotransmitters are particularly associated with attention, organisation and the personal management of emotions.

Unlike the “Dys”conditions, medication is available to alleviate these symptoms but we would advice that you pursue other treatment strategies first. These include our specialist Dyslexia  or ADHD Coaching, improving Nutrition & Health and implementing Assistive Technology Strategies.

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