Possibly present in approximately 3-5 percent of the population (Mental Health Canada ADHD) and described in detail in the American Pychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( click here and here for more info on the DSM), ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a real condition. But like so many neurological conditions, it is not well understood by the general lay population.
As a teacher, I think that part of my job does (should) involve helping parents understand that their child's inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and troubles at home, in their social lives, and at school have nothing to do with being lazy, ill-behaved, or defiant, but everything to do with their ADHD brain.
It's also important to note, that their ADHD is not your fault either. Yes, it is often genetic and runs in families, but you can't do much about your genes and your parenting did nothing to cause it to happen.
The point behind this post is to help you and your grade-schooler, tween or teenager better understand their ADHD. It does not serve as a diagnostic tool, but simply as a resource bank that can help you along your way. If you are interested in knowing more about the basics of ADHD check out this previous post: What is ADHD?
To begin with, there is so much out there in the the cyberworld about ADHD. A lot of it is good, scientifically based information and a lot of it isn't. A good place to begin (and a humourous place to begin), is with the YouTube Channel: How to ADHD. I particularly like the following video. It's lighthearted but honest. Watch it with your child and you will probably have a good laugh.
To further help you and your child understanding of ADHD, I've created a TED-Ed Lesson around this video. It's chock full of really useful resources. You can access it here: How to know if you have ADHD: A lesson for kids, tweens, teens & their parents.
Feel free to use it for your own personal use, but don't hesitate to share it or customize it for your own needs.
Finally, I think it is really important that young people with ADHD get to see that they can be VERY successful despite their ADHD. This article and slide show from ADDitudemag.com, an on-line magazine about ADHD and learning disabilities, is a great place to go and help your child see that with the support of their family and educators, they are going to be perfectly and wonderfully okay.