Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that results in a group of behavioural symptoms including inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Many children go through phases when they’re restless or inattentive – this is completely O.K. and doesn’t necessarily mean they have ADHD. People with ADHD have symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and/or inattention in multiple settings – to such an extent that it consistently impacts their development, education and family life. ADHD is caused by structural and functional differences in the brain that have been clearly identified.
These differences vary between individuals, which accounts for the diverse presentation of the disorder. Up to 90% of cases are estimated to be caused by genetic factors and around one in three people with ADHD have at least one parent with symptoms. There are different subtypes of ADHD – predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive and a mixture of the two, combined ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by a group of behavioural traits, including inattentiveness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
Each type of ADHD has its own set of main symptoms. People can be diagnosed as mainly inattentive, mainly hyperactive-impulsive or combined. The most frequent diagnosis is ADHD combined. In these cases, the person will display symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a subtype of ADHD.
The main symptoms are:
If you suspect your child, loved one or self has ADHD contact us or talk to your GP, health visitor, school nurse or a Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) are good first steps for getting a diagnosis. If you already have a diagnosis, getting support can be incredibly important. Support doesn’t always have to be from a professional source – peer support can be just as valuable. Joining one of our support groups on social media, or attending a zoom drop-in or meeting up with others can open so many doors, helping you to meet people facing similar challenges, whether you’re looking for specific advice or just wanting to feel less alone. Consultations, all consultations are clinic based, support can be accessed via email or telephone with the exception of medication reviews which are face to face in clinic. Even if you haven’t yet achieved an official diagnosis, don’t be afraid to seek peer support. You will quickly learn that everybody was in the same position once.
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Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, social interaction, behaviour, and cognitive processing. It is considered a spectrum disorder because it encompasses a wide range of symptoms and severity levels, resulting in individuals with ASD presenting diverse characteristics and challenges.
Recognising early signs of autism in toddlers is crucial for early intervention and support. It’s important to note that not all children with autism will exhibit the same signs, and some children may show typical development initially before regressing.
Here are some common signs of autism in toddlers:
Lack of Social Interaction: Toddlers with autism may show limited interest in social interactions. They might avoid eye contact, not respond to their name being called, and show little interest in engaging with others, including parents or caregivers.
Communication Difficulties: Delayed or atypical speech and language development are common indicators. Some toddlers may not babble, have limited or no meaningful words by 16 months, and show challenges in using gestures like waving or pointing.
Repetitive Behaviours: Repetitive actions are typical in toddlers with autism. They may engage in repetitive body movements, such as hand-flapping or rocking, or engage in repetitive play with toys or objects.
Difficulty with Pretend Play: Pretend play or imaginative play may be limited in toddlers with autism. They may struggle to engage in make-believe scenarios or play with toys in typical pretend ways.
Fixation on Specific Interests: Toddlers with autism may become intensely focused on particular objects or interests. They might spend an unusual amount of time organizing toys or obsessively focusing on a particular topic.
Sensory Sensitivities: Sensory issues are common in autism. Toddlers may display extreme reactions to sensory stimuli, such as lights, sounds, textures, or certain smells.
Lack of Joint Attention: Joint attention refers to a child’s ability to share interests and attention with others. Toddlers with autism may not point to objects to show interest or bring things to show their parents.
Difficulties with Transitions: Toddlers with autism may find it challenging to cope with changes in routines and transitions. They might become upset or agitated when routines are disrupted.
Delayed Motor Skills: Some toddlers with autism may have delays in developing motor skills, such as walking, climbing, or running.
Unusual Attachment to Objects: Toddlers with autism might develop strong attachments to certain objects and show distress if those objects are not available.
It’s essential to remember that all children develop at their own pace, and some delays in development may not necessarily indicate autism. However, if you notice multiple signs or have concerns about your child’s development, we can help you with a screening consultation. Early intervention and support can make a significant difference in the long-term outcomes for children with autism.
Characteristics and Symptoms:
ASD typically manifests early in childhood, often becoming apparent by the age of two or three. While symptoms vary among individuals, common traits include:
The exact causes of ASD are still not entirely understood. Research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors contributes to its development. Certain genetic mutations and environmental factors during prenatal development or early childhood may play a role in the manifestation of ASD.
Diagnosis and Early Intervention:
Diagnosing ASD can be challenging due to its complex and varied presentation. We use use standardised screening tools and assessments to evaluate communication ADI-R, ADOS-2 and ABAS-3, social skills. Early diagnosis is crucial to access appropriate interventions and support services that can help improve outcomes for individuals with ASD
Treatments and Therapies:
There is no cure for ASD, but early intervention and appropriate support can significantly improve an individual’s functioning and quality of life. Medication may be prescribed to manage specific symptoms or coexisting conditions like anxiety or ADHD.
Challenges and Strengths:
Living with ASD presents various challenges, including difficulties in academic settings, employment, and daily living tasks. However, individuals with ASD often possess unique strengths, such as exceptional attention to detail, strong memory, and a focused interest in specific subjects, which can be advantageous in certain fields and professions.
Advocacy and Awareness:
Over the years, there has been a significant increase in autism awareness and advocacy efforts. Organisations and communities work to improve public understanding, reduce stigma, and provide support for individuals with ASD and their families.
In conclusion, Autistic Spectrum Disorder is a complex condition that affects individuals differently, leading to a diverse range of symptoms and abilities. With early diagnosis, appropriate interventions, and a supportive environment, individuals with ASD can lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions to society. It is essential to continue research and support initiatives to improve the understanding and inclusivity of individuals on the autism spectrum.