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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Five children stood opposite an adult who is pointing at a dinosaur skeleton.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is defined as a neurodevelopmental condition, thought to be caused by differences in the way the brain develops that affects the parts controlling attention, concentration, impulsivity, activity levels and memory.

This means a child or young person may experience difficulties in any or all of the below:

Everybody is different, but a person with a diagnosis of ADHD has difficulty filtering out unimportant information, and maybe easily overstimulated and distracted, struggle to identify and retain the important information, have memory difficulties, feel overwhelmed by their own thoughts, respond before considering things properly, and find it difficult to regulate their feelings and behaviours.

ADHD in children is usually identified when parents and carers and practitioners in educational settings compare their different experiences of the child at home and in school or nursery. 

Treatment can take different formats, from adjusting approaches to education, to therapy and medication. 

Diagnosing ADHD

The NHS website outlines the steps taken in diagnosing ADHD and explains what happens during an assessment:

Waiting for an ADHD Assessment or Diagnosis

Assessment and diagnosis of ADHD can include a long wait.

During this time, your child may still require support. 

Schools will use good quality inclusive teaching strategies for all children and young people and these approaches will support learners with a wide range of learning needs, including those with ADHD, with or without a diagnosis.

If your child needs more targeted support, schools use a wide range of interventions in order to assist their learning. These interventions should be of high quality and assessed on a regular basis to check they are supporting them to develop the skills they need.

Find out more about the support offered by schools, by visiting our pages on SEND Support at School (Universally Available Provision).

Social communication and neurodevelopment support is offered by the NHS for children and young people with ADHD or autism. The child or young person does not need to have a diagnosis to access support from this pathway. 

This is a multi-disciplinary pathway involving Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, with a skill mix of therapists and integrated therapy assistants.

The provision within this pathway is delivered across:

Children and young people can access this pathway from 3 years old to 18 years old (or up to 19 if in full time education).

Visit the NHS East Sussex Children website to find out more.

Additional Help and Support


Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND, including ADHD. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:

East Sussex Local Offer directory of services

You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space, that lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services include advice, guidance and support groups, activities and events and mental health and wellbeing support among many other topics:

All services on 1Space have been split into categories. Once you have selected the category that you wish to visit, you can then use the filters and search function to further refine the results, depending on your need:

NHS - Health A to Z

While the East Sussex Local Offer aims to provide as much information as possible, there may be some conditions that aren't covered in thorough detail. The NHS website has pages that list all conditions, with information and advice on how to get extra support:

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

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