News and Events

TV NZ - Massive Spike in ADHD Drug Prescriptions in NZ Not an Issue To 
Worry About, Says Expert (April 27, 2018)

Despite a huge jump in the prescription of ADHD medication in New Zealand over the last few years, the drugs are not being over-used, says an expert in the field.

Read the article on TV NZ here.

ADHD NZ Awareness Month (October, 2017)

ADHD New Zealand invites you to attend the ADHD Awareness Month in October.

With the aim of advancing those in the ADHD community in New Zealand, ADHD NZ brings to you “Building the ADHDvantage” – a conference and roadshow to support and inform parents and adults living with ADHD, as well as teachers and specialists.

Find out about speaker(s), locations, timings and prices here:

ADHD Parent Support Group - Wellington (13 September, 2017, 7 – 9pm)

Join the ADHD Parent Support group at the Presbyterian Church Lounge, 27 Ganges Rd, Khandallah, Wellington.

Coffee and tea will be provided. A small donation would be appreciated to assist with venue hire.

Mind Over Manner - Greymouth (14 - 15 September, 2017)

This is a two day specialist workshop series about sensory processing and cognitive differences. Workshop One focuses on the “Over Responder” and Workshop Two focuses on the “Sensory Seeker”.

Find out more about the upcoming Mind Over Manner workshop in Greymouth, in September.

Christchurch ADHD'rs - September meetup (5 September, 2017)

Join Andrew and other Christchurch ADHD’rs from 5.30pm on Tuesday 5 September at Winnie Bagoes, 153 Madras St (Corner of Madras and Allen St), Christchurch for pizza and a catch-up.

RSVP to let Andrew know you’re keen to join in.

Mind Over Manner - Auckland (29 August, 2017)

This is a specialist workshop about sensory processing and cognitive differences, pre-meltdown strategies and post-meltdown recovery.

Find out more about the upcoming Mind Over Manner workshop in Auckland, in August.

Christchurch ADHD'rs - August meetup (7 August, 2017)

Join Andrew and other Christchurch ADHD’rs from 5.30pm on 7 August at Winnie Bagoes, 153 Madras St (Corner of Madras and Allen St), Christchurch for pizza and a catch-up.

Mind Over Manner - New Plymouth (14-15 June, 2017)

MIND OVER MANNER is a specialist workshop series designed to engage and develop communication capabilities of those who learn, think and work differently.
 They facilitate workshops for parents, families and professionals in the workplace along with community to advance communication and behavioral functionality.

Find out more about the upcoming Mind Over Manner workshops in New Plymouth, in June.

ADHD NZ Annual General Meeting (30 May, 2017)

The AGM will be held at 14 Erson Avenue, Mt Roskill, Auckland from 7pm – 9pm.

Meet the Board members and hear about our achievements in 2016, and what we’re aiming to do in 2017.

Brett Harrington will also discuss “How to live and love with ADHD“: All intimate relationships require some work in order to thrive. ADHD can make that more complex and confusing. In this thoughtful talk about how to live and love with ADHD, Brett introduces us the imaginary couple Larry and Sally. Through their story we find wisdom for how to live ‘happily ever after’ with ADHD.

There will be an opportunity to network over nibbles afterwards.

Mind Over Manner - Wellington (6-7 April, 2017)

MIND OVER MANNER is a specialist workshop series designed to engage and develop communication capabilities of those who learn, think and work differently.
 They facilitate workshops for parents, families and professionals in the workplace along with community to advance communication and behavioral functionality.

Find out more about the upcoming Mind Over Manner workshop in Wellington, in April.

Brain Day 2017 - Auckland University (25 March, 2017)

The NZ ADHD Association will be represented at Brain Day 2017, held at the University of Auckland’s Business School, Owen Glenn Building, Grafton Road, Auckland, on Saturday 25th March, from 9.30am.

Brain Day Auckland is a free public event, held at the University of Auckland Business School. Workshops, panel discussions and presentations from leading scientists and clinicians from the Centre for Brain Research will explore how our brains create and perceive the environment around us. Interactive art, music and neuroscience demonstrations will entertain the whole family.

Find out more about Brain Day in Auckland.

A Good Start in Life - co-creation workshop (23 March, 2017)

A Good Start in Life is a Ministry of Education-led project, aimed at co-designing a future that meets the needs of the parents and whānau of disabled children.

This co-creation workshop is for parents, whānau and people who support them and will be at Disability Connect, 3B Olive Road, Penrose, on Thursday 23 March, 7.00pm-8.30p.m.

– When driving to Disability Connect please allow plenty of time to get there for the 7.00pm start, as 45,000 concert-goers will be heading to the Adele concert (in the same area) for a 7.30pm start.
– Car parking is available and Elizabeth will be awaiting attendees and issuing business cards to put on your car’s dashboard.
– Tea/coffee and a slice will be available for those who arrive before 7pm.
– Whilst Olive Road will be open until 9pm, it will be busy as a pick up / drop off point for concert goers. Please take care.

To RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Goodwin at Connect and Co on: or 027 283 4526.

ADHD, HyperExpress Newsletter (Mar, 2017)

Read articles, get tips and grow your network by reading our latest HyperExpress newsletter.

ADHD Association Summer BBQ (26 Feb, 2017)

Thanks to everyone who came along to our summer BBQ at Cornwall Park this month. It was lovely to catch-up, meet new faces and enjoy a fun and relaxing afternoon together. We look forward to doing it again next year!

NZ Herald, ADHD Linked to Delayed Brain Development (16 Feb, 2017)

For the first time, scientists can point to substantial empirical evidence that people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have brain structures that differ from those of people without ADHD.

Read the article on NZ Herald here.

ADHD, HyperExpress Newsletter (Dec, 2016)

Read articles, get tips and grow your network by reading our latest HyperExpress newsletter.

NZ ADHD Awareness Day (30 Oct, 2016)

The ADHD Association invites you to attend the ADHD Awareness Day on 30th October. This is a first-of-its-kind chance for the ADHD Community and others who are interested to join together to spread the facts, rebut the myths, and provide insight and opportunity to children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in New Zealand.

Get current insights on ADHD from experts in various fields, including education, clinical psychology, cognitive research and nutrition. Also learn from New Zealand’s own ‘Wildboy’ on how his ADHD drives him to be the best he can be.

Check out the ADHD Awareness Day website and workshops by clicking here.

ADHD, HyperExpress Newsletter (Sep, 2016)

Read articles, get tips and grow your network by reading our latest HyperExpress newsletter.

ADHD, HyperExpress Newsletter (Jun, 2016)

Read articles, get tips and grow your network by reading our latest HyperExpress newsletter.

Brain Day 2016 - Auckland University (March, 2016)

The NZ ADHD Association will be represented at Brain Day 2016, held at the University of Auckland’s Tāmaki Campus, 261 Morrin Road, St Johns, on Saturday 12th March 9 am – 3 pm.

Brain Day 2016 will include science displays, community groups, activities for children, panel discussions and presentations about movement neuroscience, multiple sclerosis, stroke in young adults, brain injury, choral singing, gavel clubs and poi for people with neurological conditions and much more!

During the following week, which is Brain Awareness Week 2016, there will be panel discussions in the Auckland Gramamar School on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings (15-17 March) on the topics of The Young Brain (Tuesday), The Creative Brain (Wednesday) and Changing your Brain (Thursday).

Click here for more information

ADHD, HyperExpress Newsletter (Mar, 2016)

Read articles, get tips and grow your network by reading our latest HyperExpress newsletter.

ADHD Association Summer BBQ (Feb, 2016)

Thanks to everyone who came along to our summer BBQ at Cornwall Park this month. It was lovely to catch-up, meet new faces and enjoy a fun and relaxing afternoon together. We look forward to doing it again next year!

ADHD Association Submission to Parliamentary Select Committee (Dec, 2015)

The ADHD Association recently spoke to our submission to Parliament’s Education and Science Select Committee in response to the Inquiry into the identification and support for students with the significant challenges of dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorders in primary and secondary schools.

As the description of the enquiry suggests, it did not originally include ADHD in its scope. We felt that it should, given that ADHD not only presents a significant challenge to those it affects, but also that it is almost certainly far more common than the conditions already included.

Our submission, available by clicking here, was heavily informed by a member survey we recently undertook. We strongly argued the need for increased funding for Special Education, including for the provision of more qualified teachers aides, and greater coverage of special education needs in teacher training. The submission also called for Individual Education Plans to become mandatory, and for there to be better coordination between Ministries of Health and Education.

Earlier submissions mentioned teacher training, early assessment etc., however we were asked particularly about the use of medication, the impact of the new open plan classrooms, and issues raised in our recent survey.

We were also represented by The Cube, who submitted on behalf of the Invisible Disabilities Collective, of which we are a member. This group spoke strongly and presented postcards representing a range of individual student stories for the MP’s to take away.

The Committee were receptive and supportive, and we are hopeful that they will translate our feedback into some effective policies in early childhood, primary, and secondary education.

ADHD, HyperExpress Newsletter (Dec, 2015)

Read articles, get tips and grow your network by reading our latest HyperExpress newsletter.

ADHD Research (May, 2015)

The Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group at the University of Canterbury is currently running a study testing a broad-spectrum vitamin-mineral formula to treat ADHD in children. If you have a child 8-12 years with ADHD symptoms (an existing diagnosis is not required) and are interested in taking part, see the website for further information and to register interest: Or contact Kathryn Darling 03-3642987 ext 7705 or

Julia Rucklidge, PhD, CPsych, FNZPsS
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Clinical Psychologist
Department of Psychology
University of Canterbury

Pinebark ENZO Nutraceuticals Ltd (ENZO) 

Who would have thought that pine bark could hold so much promise for our health?

ENZO Nutraceuticals Ltd (ENZO) is a New Zealand company that produces an extract from pine bark called Enzogenol. This is a health food/supplement that was discovered by Canterbury University around 1997. A research team at the University discovered that they could extract a mixture of plant compounds, known as flavonoids, from the bark of the Radiata pines that are grown for the timber industry all over NZ, and that this flavonoid mixture had exceptionally high anti-oxidant activity. ENZO then picked up this discovery recognizing that this pine bark extract could make a very good natural health product.

In 2008, the Brain Sciences Institute of Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, published a study that showed how Enzogenol can improve cognitive performance, including concentration and decision making in complex brain test.1 Previous research on pine bark extract from Europe had shown promise in supporting improved attention and behaviour in kids with ADHD.2

Dr. Leila Masson a consultant paediatrician in Auckland, NZ, specialising in biomedical approach to improve children’s attention and behaviour recommends the product to her clients: “Enzogenol is a safe and effective nutritional for children with hyperactivity and problems concentrating. I have noticed improvements within a few weeks of starting this potent antioxidant. Parents and teachers consistently report that the children are calmer and more focused. I recommend a trial of Enzogenol for any child with attention and behaviour issues.” Adults with ADHD have also reported benefits of improved brain functioning with increased concentration.

ENZO Nutraceuticals Ltd has now come on board as a sponsor of the Hyper Express newsletter for the ADHD Association and Unique Families. 


Children with ADHD sleep both poorly and less (May, 2016)

A new study from Aarhus University has now documented that there is some truth to the claim by parents of children with ADHD that their children have more difficulty falling asleep and that they sleep more poorly than other children.

Click this link for more information


Multimodal Therapy Involving High-Intensity Interval Training Improves Fitness, Motor Skills, Social Behavior, and Quality of Life of Boys With ADHD (Mar, 2016)

A German study showed that multimodal therapy including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) outperformed multimodal therapy paired with moderate intensity exercise. The HIIT therapy lead to greater improvements in aspects of physical fitness, motor skills, certain aspects of quality of life, competence, and attention in boys with ADHD.

The study randomly assigned 28 boys (8-13 years of age, IQ = 83-136) to either multimodal with HIIT (three sessions/week, 4×4 minute intervals of high-intensity activity) or multimodal plus moderate-intensity exercise involving three weekly 60 minute sessions of ball and team games, court sports, and climbing. Both groups also got 3 weeks of psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, behavioral management, ergotherapy, and music therapy.

Both interventions enhanced aspects of fitness. HIIT was more effective at improving the total score for motor skills (including manual dexterity and ball skills), self-esteem, social engagement, competence, and subjective ratings of attention.

Click this link for more information


Link between ADHD, vision impairment in children (Feb, 2016)

A new study sheds light on a link between noncorrectable vision problems and ADHD in children. Results from a large survey of 75,000 children suggest an increased risk of ADHD among children with vision problems that are not correctable with glasses or contacts, such as color blindness or lazy eye, relative to other children. This finding suggests that children with vision impairment should be monitored for signs and symptoms of ADHD so that this dual impairment of vision and attention can best be addressed.

Click this link for more information


Effect of Exercise on Concentration of Individuals with ADHD (Feb, 2016)

Physical activity has been used to prevent and improve ADHD and comorbidities; however, its effectiveness has not been quantified. In this study, the effect of physical activity on children’s attention was measured using a computer game. Intense physical activity was promoted by a relay race, which requires a 5-min run without a rest interval. The groups of volunteers with ADHD who performed exercise showed improved performance for the tasks that require attention with a difference of 30.52% compared with the volunteers with ADHD who did not perform the exercise. This study shows that intense exercise can improve the attention of children with ADHD and may help their school performance.  

Click this link for more information


Generic vs. Individualised approaches to ADHD and Dyslexia (Jan, 2016)

Generic vs. individualised approaches to ADHD and Dyslexia Exploring the role of generic and more individualised approaches to ADHD and dyslexia was the focus of a recent mini review in Frontiers in Psychology. The paper, by University of Auckland’s Dr David Moreau and Associate Professor Karen Waldie, acknowledges the important point that ‘neurodevelopmental disorders cannot be explained by intellectual ability or inadequate learning environment, but instead appear to be differences in brain function’. Although the specific neural networks and brain regions that are changed in ADHD and dyslexia are becoming better understood, ‘normalising’ these networks may not necessarily improve performance, and should not always be the goal. Instead, sometimes strengthening compensatory pathways may be a good option.

The paper briefly touches on the broad benefits of ‘ecological remediation’ including physical activity/exercise, learning to play a musical instrument, and being active in nature. All of which have long-lasting effects on brain structure and function, as well as benefits beyond simply addressing neurological differences. Despite broad benefits, the paper authors note that these more generic approaches may fall short when it comes to addressing specific functions, e.g. short-term memory, which are likely to require a more targeted approach. The advice is to develop individualised training programmes that are based around a well established and research supported core with supplementary activities that are tailored to individual needs. The final component being regular assessment to see if the desired outcome is being achieved. Click the following link for more information…


Behavioural and Cardiovascular Responses to Frustration During Simulated Driving Tasks in Young Adults with 

This study examined the role of negative emotions on driving performance in relation to ADHD, by impairing young adults scoring high on measures of ADHD with a control group. Participants with high ADHD symptoms reported more frustration and exhibited more impairment at the tactical level of driving performance than the controls. This article proposes that remedial driver training for ADHD populations should focus more on the control of negative emotions rather than on attention or fundamental driving skills. 

Link to publication

Kids with ADHD must Squirm to Learn, study says (April, 2015)
New research shows that if you want ADHD kids to learn, you have to let them squirm. The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are actually vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks, according to a study…


ADHD may have different effects on brains of boys and girls (Oct, 2015)

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) manifests itself differently in the brains of girls than in the brains of boys, new research suggests.  The results may help scientists better understand how ADHD affects boys and girls in unique ways, the researchers said.

“The findings showed differences in the white matter microstructure between boys and girls,” said study co-author Lisa Jacobson, a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, in Baltimore. White matter helps different regions of the brain communicate with each other…

Research Abstract:


Inside the adult ADHD brain: Differences between adults who have recovered, and those who have not (June, 2014)

Brain scans differentiate adults who have recovered from childhood ADHD and those whose difficulties linger, research shows. In the first study to compare patterns of brain activity in adults who recovered from childhood ADHD and those who did not, neuroscientists have discovered key differences in a brain communication network that is active when the brain is at wakeful rest and not focused on a particular task. The findings offer evidence of a biological basis for adult ADHD and should help to validate the criteria used to diagnose the disorder. Click the following link for more information…


Adult ADHD undertreated despite effective interventions (Oct, 2013)

Up to two-thirds of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) find their disorder persists into adulthood yet only a small proportion of adults ever receive a formal diagnosis and treatment, research suggests…


Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for treatment of children with ADHD  (Oct, 2011)

Bloch MH, Qawasmi A.
Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Several studies have demonstrated differences in omega-3 fatty acid composition in plasma and in erythrocyte membranes in patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared with unaffected controls.Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can alter central nervous system cell membrane fluidity and phospholipid composition. Cell membrane fluidity can alter serotonin and dopamine neurotransmission. The goal of this meta-analysis was to examine the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in children with ADHD…


The Diet Factor in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Feb, 2012)

J.Gordon Millichap, MD and MIchell M. Yee, CPNP

This article is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the role of dietary methods for treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when pharmacotherapy has proven unsatisfactory or unacceptable. Results of recent research and controlled studies, based on a PubMed search, are emphasized and compared with earlier reports. The recent increase of interest in this form of therapy for ADHD, and especially in the use of omega supplements, significance of iron deficiency, and the avoidance of the “Western pattern” diet, make the discussion timely…


Understanding the Effects of Stimulant Medications on Cognition in Individuals with ADHD: A Decade of Progress (Jan, 2011)

James Swanson, Ruben D Baier, and Nora D Volkow


The use of stimulant drugs for the treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most widespread pharmacological interventions in child psychiatry and behavioural paediatrics. This treatment is well grounded on controlled studies showing efficacy of low oral doses of methylphenidate and amphetamine in reducing the behavioural symptoms of the disorder as reported by parents and teachers both for the cognitive (inattention and impulsivity) and non-cognitive (hyperactivity) domains…


Executive Functions and ADHD: Implications of two conflicting views. (Mar, 2006)

Dr Thomas E Brown

Increasingly ADD/ADHD is being seen as a disorder involving impairment of the brain’s management system, its executive functions. However, among researchers there are two very different viewpoints about how executive functions are involved. Some see executive functions as impaired in only about 30% of those with ADHD.

The alternative view, advocated by Dr Brown and Dr. Russell Barkley, claims that ADHD is essentially a name for developmentally impaired executive functions, that all those with ADHD have such impairments…


Managing 30-40 children for 6-8 hours each day is challenging for any teacher. Having ADHD has many benefits, however, not knowing how to manage certain behaviours exhibited by children can be frustrating.

There are a few simple things you can do:

1. Behavioural techniques and classroom management strategies for managing children with ADHD

a) Consistency is the key to helping ADHD children

Children with ADHD do not deal with change very well, even if it is positive change. They need to have a sense of external structure, as they tend to lack a sense of internal structure.

b) ADHD have two kinds of time…plenty and none

They are usually poor at organising  their time and need you to help them break tasks down into small components.

c) Place children ADHD at the front of the room

Do not let them sit at the back of the class!! Seat them nearest the blackboard or close to where the teacher gives instruction.

d) Try to avoid placing children with ADHD at tables with multiple children

This only maximises their distractibility.

e) Use colours and shapes to help them organise

f) Try to provide a quiet study area when seat work is required

g) Try to work within the child’s attention span

Change the type of work frequently and the child can continue to work productively.

h) Many of these children are VISUAL learners

Try making things more visual or tactile and they may grasp them better. Instead of memorizing words, ask them to “make a movie in their head and play it back”.

i) Don’t worry if you feel frustrated…

Don’t take their behaviour personally and do not vent your frustration on them.

j) Encourage creativity

These children are often extremely creative. Try to encourage  artistic (or musical) abilities. But to avoid chaos, keep any creative sessions structured.

 2. Maintain a close relationship with the parents/guardian

Successful management of ADHD is a team effort. If you have any ADHD children in your classroom, you are automatically part of the treatment process. Therefore you have to maintain a close “working” relationship with the other members of the team. (namely the parents)

This can be achieved simply by:

  • weekly updates on behaviour/work in class (either written or phone)
  • keeping an eye out in the playground for the child, are they making and maintaining friendships?
  • alerting the parents immediately if you notice any changes in behaviour

3. Educate yourself

Make yourself aware of such things as:

a) what ADHD is
b) what treatments are available
c) what your role is in the ADHD diagnostic process
d) what support and services are available in NZ, and
e) what your legal responsibilities are.


For resources and websites go to our links page or contact us to discuss.


ADHD is a recognised neurological condition which remains with you. While having ADHD has many benefits, it frequently remains undiagnosed, or diagnosis may be obscured.

Are you constantly faced with these challenges?

• Sets unrealistic goals and multi-tasks leading to non-completion of projects
• Constantly procrastinates, leaves activities to the last minute
• Difficulty in getting organised
• Inattentive, forgetful, can’t retain information, sudden blank mind
• Sense of underachievement, often false due to poor perceptions

• Over-excited, hyper focussed, obsessive
• Subject hops, many thoughts in mind at once
• Easily bored, craves stimulation, takes risks, gambles
• Fidgets, doodles, seem to be elsewhere, easity distracted or side-tracked
• Mood swings, extremes of feelings, excessive anxiety or sensitivity; compulsive

• Intolerance, sudden unreasonable/unpredictable verbal/physical aggression
• Reluctance to read, hard to focus and concentrate
• Reluctance to write, hard to express and sequence ideas, may be dyslexic

• Impatient, tactless, interrupts, finishes other’s sentences
• Impulsive with no thought of consequences
• Has trouble following authorised procedure, oppositional
• Often has a cluttering or hoarding problem

Do you often get these physical symptoms?

Cravings, addictions; allergy, hypersensitivity; migraines, headaches, dizziness; excessive thirst; eye troubles; digestive upsets; muscle aches such as twitching, tics, cramps; air hunger eg sighing, yawning; sleep disturbances, apnoea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome; excessive perspiration; skin, nail, hair abnormalities; poor temperature sense; thyroid problems.

Managing ADHD

Just getting a diagnosis of ADHD and understanding that there was a reason for many of your past difficulties can be an enormous relief.

Although there is no cure, there are treatments that can be useful in managing ADHD. Treatment must be tailored for you and should address all areas you may need help with.

Common components of a tailored ADHD treatment plan might include:

• consultation with appropriate medical professionals
• education about ADHD
• medication
• behavioural management strategies, coaching
• psychotherapy or counselling
• support groups, and
• vocational counselling.


 Visit our links page for recommended resources or contact us

Children and Teens

Common Symptoms

Each ADHD child will vary in the type, number, frequency and severity of symptoms.

Early signs (Baby and Toddler)

  • Colic, cries at lot, difficult to hold and cuddle
  • Cot rocking, head banging, poor sleepers
  • Nappy rash, fussy eaters
  • Runs away, bites, hits, dominated others
  • Appears to have unusual strength, climbs


  • Easily distracted, poor short term memory
  • Forgets instructions, fails to finish tasks
  • Disorganised, appears not to hear
  • Learning difficulties


  • Excessive restlessness, in constant motion
  • Has difficulty in sitting still or staying seated
  • Has a “driven” quality, runs and jumps
  • Insatiable (never satisfied, never enough)
  • Can also be Hypoactive (under active)


  • Acts without thought or sense of safety
  • Unpredictable behaviour
  • Needs constant supervision
  • Interrupts and intrudes on others

Emotional Instability

  • Easily frustrated, tantrums, moody
  • Impatient, intolerant, extremes of feeling
  • Irrational, overreacts to touch, pain, sound
  • Peer rejection, low self esteem

Anti Social Behaviour

  • Oppositional behaviour/conduct disorder
  • Aggressive, destructive, defiant, devious
  • Argumentative, swears, fascination with fire
  • Can act with cruelty and violence, steals
  • Unresponsive to punishment, lies

Co-ordination difficulties

  • Clumsy, lacks good balance
  • Difficulty in dressing, lacing and buttoning
  • Poor ball skills, mixed left-right dominance
  • Writing at times large and spidery
  • Reversals in letters and spelling

Physical Symptoms

  • Excessive thirst and perspiration
  • Poor temperature sense control
  • Ear troubles (infections, glue ear)
  • Eye troubles (dark circles, puffiness, squint)
  • Headaches, muscle or stomach pains
  • Digestive upsets, air hunger
  • Food and drink cravings eg sugar, milk
  • Prone to infections, eg colds
  • Allergies, eczema, asthma, hives

Possible signs of ADHD in teenage girls

Here are some of the warning signs that parents and teachers should be aware of relating to teenage girls and ADHD.  Some of these signs can be found in ADHD boys also.

  •   Disorganised and untidy
  •   Day-dreamy – difficulty in getting things done
  •   Talkative – fast, non stop prattle – interrupts others
  •   Easily upset,  over-reactive, emotional
  •   Never on time, (poor time management)
  •   Relationship/sexuality   problems
  •   Feelings of being overwhelmed
  •   Feelings of being unloved
  •   Drives erratically, has lots of accidents, some afraid to drive at all.
  •   Worries about the future
  •   Eats/drinks to calm themselves down

Possible signs of ADHD in teenage boys

  • Impulsive behaviour, takes risks, can’t see the consequences of actions
  • Argumentative, has to have the last word, always right
  • No patience, flies off the handle easily
  • Drives recklessly for fun, no care or consideration
  • Difficulty concentrating and focusing, finds it hard to complete tasks
  • Easily distracted and finds it hard to focus
  • Often experienced in unlawful drug taking and drinking alcohol to excess
  • Has difficulty holding down a job
  • Forgetful, loses things
  • Slow to process information and directions
  • Careless with an ‘I don’t care’ attitude.
  • Often late (poor time management)
  • Although often very intelligent, has low self esteem
  • Doesn’t like being told what to do
  • Dislikes any authority
  • Emotionally immature
  • Hates being criticized in company


If someone in your family has ADHD, life can be challenging.

Interacting with someone who has ADHD can have benefits, but can also be complex and may require a multi-modal approach tailored to the specific needs of that person.

Understanding and accepting ADHD can be very difficult for you, however it is vital that everyone including extended family, teachers, youth workers and co-workers understands and knows what is expected of them. You can all make a positive impact on someone living with ADHD by showing appreciation and acknowledgement of them.

Family counselling can play an important part in your family dynamics, providing the counsellor has good knowledge of ADHD. Check this before starting. Siblings often struggle to cope with the challenges of living with a brother or sister who receives extra attention. Support for them can be found also – see our links page.

Parenting courses also play an important role in managing your child with ADHD. Incredible Years is widely available and is free.  For details see the Ministry of Education website for other recommended ADHD parenting courses.

You may be eligible for various government supports depending on your situation. Some of these are:

Child Disability Allowance (WINZ)

This allowance does not depend on income or costs and helps those caring for children with a disability at home. Children who are under 17 years and have severe ADHD are entitled to this allowance.

Disability Allowance (WINZ)

It can help with costs like regular visits to the doctor, hospital, medicines, extra clothes, food or travel. It does depend on your income, assets and costs.

Childcare Assistance (WINZ)

Childcare Assistance provides financial support for childcare and out-of-school care. The level of support is based on your income and number of children you have. It includes Childcare Subsidy for pre-school children, Out-of-School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) subsidy for children aged 5 – 13 years.

Carer Support

This is a service funded by the Ministry of Health. It offers the carer/support person a break by helping to pay for an alternative carer for an agreed number of days. It is based on an assessment by a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) agency. Carer support days can also be used to pay for various after school and recreational programmes.

Help at School

If you are worried your child is not progressing at school, either in learning or behaviour, then talk to the classroom teacher, the school’s Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or the principal.

Students with learning or behavioural difficulties may have access to the following assistance options:

  • extra assistance
  • adapted programmes or learning environments, and/or
  • specialised equipment or materials.

You can ask for an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting. This is attended by all the people closely involved with the student in order to identify needs and set goals. It gives the school and home a chance to work together to form strategies and exchange information and gives the student a better chance of success. Make sure roles and responsibilities are allocated and a review date is set.

Your child might be referred to a Resource Teacher: Learning & Behaviour (RTLB). These teachers are specially trained and may work in just one school or across a group of schools. They might provide direct teaching or help the classroom teacher or aide with teaching strategies and behavioural management techniques.

Each school receives a Special Education Grant (SEG) to support students with moderate levels of difficulty, however the school sets priorities to best meet these needs. This fund is used for teacher aides etc.

Various other services are available, though less common. These are described on the Ministry of Education website:

Contact us now  for more information.