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Understanding ADHD Characteristics in Students

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects many young people in the UK. While it is a common diagnosis, it can still be challenging to understand what it..
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Understanding ADHD Characteristics in Students

03/05/2023
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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects many young people in the UK. While it is a common diagnosis, it can still be challenging to understand what it means for those who have it. As a student with ADHD or someone who thinks they may have ADHD, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what ADHD is and how it may impact your daily life, particularly in regards to learning.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to focus, control impulsive behaviour, and regulate their emotions. These symptoms can present differently in each person and may change over time. For example, a child with ADHD may struggle to sit still and pay attention in class, while a teenager with ADHD may have difficulty with time management and completing tasks.

One of the biggest challenges faced by students with ADHD is how it affects their academic performance. They may struggle with schoolwork, lose focus easily, and find it difficult to stay on task. As a result, they may need extra support with their ADHD symptoms to help them succeed academically.

At The ADHD Centre, we understand the impact that ADHD can have on a student’s life, and we are committed to providing private ADHD diagnosis and treatment to support those who need it. Our aim is to help students with ADHD reach their full potential and achieve academic success.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the characteristics of ADHD in students and explore strategies for managing ADHD in the classroom. Whether you have been recently diagnosed or suspect you may have ADHD, or if you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, this article will provide you with valuable insights and tools to help you succeed academically and beyond.

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What is ADHD and its Impact on Students?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a condition that is commonly diagnosed in childhood, but it can persist into adolescence and adulthood. For students with ADHD, the impact can be significant, affecting their academic performance, social relationships, and overall quality of life.

ADHD is generally characterised by three key symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Inattentive symptoms may present in ways such as having trouble focusing on tasks, forgetfulness and disorganisation. Hyperactivity usually presents itself in the form of restlessness, fidgeting and an inability to sit still for extended periods. Impulsivity can manifest as difficulty thinking before acting, blurting out answers before being called on, and interrupting others. Sometimes, hyperactive and impulsive symptoms present together, whereas other children with ADHD may only have inattentive symptoms.

For students with ADHD of every type, these symptoms can make it difficult to concentrate during class, stay on top of assignments, and remember important information. This can lead to poor academic performance and difficulty keeping up with their peers. Students with ADHD may also struggle with social relationships, finding it hard to connect with others or fit in with those around them.

The impact of ADHD can be far-reaching and can often affect the mental health and well-being of students diagnosed with the condition. It’s common for people with ADHD to experience low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. This can make it difficult to form healthy relationships and feel confident in their abilities, leading to isolation and poor mental health overall – both of which can impact academic studies.

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Common Characteristics of ADHD in Students

As mentioned, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are the three hallmark traits of people with ADHD. There are three types of ADHD:

  • Inattentive type: This is where a person struggles mostly with inattention symptoms. This is the second most prevalent type of ADHD and is more common in girls and women. This is sometimes called attention deficit disorder.
  • Hyperactive-impulsive type: This type of ADHD means a person may struggle with symptoms associated with hyperactivity and impulsivity. This is the least common type of ADHD and is more common in boys and men.
  • Combined type: This refers to those who display both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. This is the most common type of ADHD.

The type of ADHD you are diagnosed with will indicate the characteristics you are most likely to have, but it’s important to remember that these are general symptoms. Everyone experiences ADHD differently, so your symptoms may vary to other people’s. It’s also important to note that some ADHD symptoms may overlap with other conditions and mental disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder. This is why it’s important to have ADHD diagnosed by a qualified professional.

Inattention

Inattention is an ADHD symptom displayed in students with inattentive type or combined type ADHD. It can bring forth a number of challenges in the classroom, including difficulty focusing on tasks, forgetfulness, and disorganisation. You may find yourself easily distracted by external stimuli such as noise, movement or visual cues, and struggle to maintain your concentration on the task at hand. This can make it difficult to complete assignments, stay on top of deadlines, and remember important information. It can also lead to careless mistakes in your work which may affect your academic performance, despite not being a reflection of your academic capabilities.

Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity is a symptom of ADHD in students with hyperactive-impulsive type and combined type ADHD. It often presents as restlessness, fidgeting, or an inability to sit still for extended periods. You may find it difficult to stay seated during lessons, constantly tapping your feet, or squirming in your seat. This can be disruptive to both your own learning and that of your classmates.

Impulsivity

Impulsivity is also a common symptom of ADHD, specifically hyper-impulsive type and combined type ADHD.. This can manifest in several ways, including difficulty thinking before acting, blurting out answers before being called on, and interrupting others. You may find yourself acting on impulse without considering the consequences, which can lead to poor decision-making and difficulty with social relationships.

It’s important to remember that everyone experiences ADHD differently, and not all students with ADHD will exhibit all three symptoms. If you’re concerned that you may have ADHD, it’s important to seek a professional diagnosis and treatment. At The ADHD Centre, our experienced team of clinicians can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms and thrive in your academic and personal life.

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How ADHD Characteristics Can Affect Academic Performance

If you’re a student with ADHD, you may have noticed that some of your academic struggles are different from those of your peers. This is because ADHD can affect your attention and focus, learning and memory, as well as organisation and time management skills.

Attention and Focus

One of the most common symptoms of ADHD is difficulty with attention and focus. This can make it challenging to concentrate during lectures, read through textbooks or study for exams. You may find yourself easily distracted by external stimuli, such as noises or movements, or by internal distractions, such as daydreaming or racing thoughts.

Learning and Memory

In addition to attention and focus difficulties, ADHD can also impact your learning and memory. You may struggle to retain information presented in class or when studying, and find it hard to recall facts when needed. This can make it harder to participate in class discussions, complete assignments or perform well on tests.

Organisation and Time Management

Organisation and time management can also be a challenge for students with ADHD. You may find it hard to keep track of assignments, due dates, and deadlines, or to plan and prioritise tasks effectively. This can lead to procrastination, last-minute cramming, and missed deadlines, which can all negatively impact your academic performance.

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Strategies for Supporting Students with ADHD

The good news is that there are strategies and treatments available to help you manage the challenges associated with ADHD. With the right support and guidance, you can learn to develop your attention and focus, improve your learning and memory, and enhance your organisation and time management skills, enabling you to reach your full potential.

Classroom Accommodations and Modifications

One of the most effective ways to support students with ADHD is through classroom accommodations and modifications. This could include providing a quiet workspace, breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, and allowing for extra time on assignments or tests. Your teacher or school may also offer assistive technology or preferential seating to help you stay focused and engaged in class.

Depending on your age, you may also be entitled to an ECHP, also known as an education, health and care plan. An EHCP is a legally binding document that outlines the specific additional educational, healthcare and social care needs of a young person. It is designed for students under the age of 25 who require extra support that goes beyond what a school, college or university can typically provide.

Students with an EHCP may receive support such as one-to-one assistance, as well as sensory impairment and behavioural therapies, and classroom help. The level of support provided under an EHCP is often beyond what the school can offer, and external agencies are typically brought in to provide assistance.

It’s important to note that an EHCP differs from SEN (special educational needs) support, which is provided by every school. SEN support is put in place by the educational establishment and does not involve external parties. For example, speech therapy may fall under SEN support, but if your needs cannot be met through SEN support alone, an EHCP may be necessary. An EHCP is reserved for those who require more extensive assistance that mainstream schools are unable to provide independently. Proof that SEN support is insufficient may be necessary to access an EHCP, but if you are able to get one, modifications and accommodations provided by it may make all the difference to your ability to flourish academically.

Parental Support and Advocacy

Another critical aspect of supporting students with ADHD is parental support and advocacy. Talk to your parents or guardians about your diagnosis and how it affects you. Together, you can work with your school to ensure that your needs are met and that you have the necessary accommodations and modifications in place. Your parents may also be able to advocate for you if you feel that your needs are not being met, or if you encounter any obstacles in your academic journey.

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The Importance of Early Intervention and Support

Early intervention and support are crucial for students with ADHD. Identifying and addressing the condition early on can help to minimise the impact it has on a student’s academic and social life.

Research has shown that early diagnosis and treatment of ADHD can lead to better long-term outcomes, including improved academic performance and social skills. Early intervention can also help to prevent secondary issues, such as anxiety and depression, that may arise due to untreated ADHD.

One of the most effective ways to provide early intervention and support is through an accurate diagnosis. If you suspect that you or your child may have ADHD, it is essential to seek a diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional. At The ADHD Centre, we provide private ADHD diagnosis and treatment services, offering personalised support and guidance to help you manage your condition.

Another important aspect of early intervention is providing appropriate accommodations and modifications in the school environment. This could include one-to-one support, preferential seating, or extra time on assignments or tests. These accommodations can help to level the playing field and give students with ADHD the same opportunities for success as other children.

Student ADHD Support at The ADHD Centre

At The ADHD Centre, we specialise in supporting students with ADHD. Our team of leading ADHD experts are on hand to provide valuable insight, advice, support, and guidance on the condition and how to best manage it. Whether you’re a student or the parent of a child with ADHD, we can help you navigate ADHD in education and develop treatment plans to mitigate symptoms and allow you to flourish.

For more information on how we could help you, please call us on 0800 061 4276 or email us at enquiries@adhdcentre.co.uk.

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We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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