Symptoms and supports for children with ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is also sometimes called ADD, is a term used to describe patterns of behaviour that appear most often in school-aged children. Children with these disorders can be inattentive, overly impulsive and hyperactive. They can have difficulty sitting still or paying attention to one thing for a long period of time, and they may seem overactive. The BC Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association describes the impact of ADHD on children and youth and shares stories of other families living with ADHD.

What causes ADHD?

The cause of ADHD is not fully understood, but changes in brain chemicals and structures are found in people with ADHD. It also seems to run in families, so ADHD may be affected by certain genes. The environment may also play a role. For example, ADHD is seen more often in children of women who smoked cigarettes while pregnant. Learn more about ADHD at Kelty Mental Health.

There are two groups of ADHD symptoms. Most children and youth living with ADHD have some symptoms from both groups. ADHD affects about five to nine per cent of school-aged children. It generally affects boys more than girls, especially the hyperactivity type of ADHD. About two-thirds of these children continue to show difficulty in adulthood.

Who can diagnose my child with ADHD?

A skilled mental health professional can work with a child or youth to figure out whether the child has ADHD or whether something else is going on. If you would like more information about ADHD or if you are concerned, talk to your family doctor. You can also seek out help from a mental health professional by:

How can I support my child with ADHD?

A group of health professionals can help provide treatments and therapy to help children and families manage ADHD. This team of experts may include a psychologist, physician, pediatrician, clinical counsellors or social worker.

Treatment may include counselling, medication, creating changes at home and school, and learning about healthy living. Read more about your child and your family's options for treatment at Kelty Mental Health.

BC Children's Hospital also offers the Provincial Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Outpatient Program. You may find your child and your family would also benefit from community support groups or peer groups, such as Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder Vancouver (C.H.A.A.D.).