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Why an ADHD diagnoses is a good news diagnosis and whether your child needs one

Of all the Wonderfully Wired profiles I think the one least understood is ADHD.  

As a young teacher, I was guilty as many teachers are, of not taking the downsides of being ADHD seriously enough.  I’d say things like ‘maybe he’s just suffering from childhood?’.   Many parents also bristle at the suggestion that  their kids should go on medication.  

On the other extreme many parents (spurred on by teachers struggling to manage their children) wish for medication and don’t understand that strategies beyond medication exist and are life- changing.

But all of that is changing.

My guest this month on the Wonderfully  Wired podcast is the fabulous Jessica McCabe, creator of  the popular YouTube channel ‘How to ADHD’.  

Jessica’s own story  helped  me see that the threats associated with unsupported ADHD should never be easily dismissed.   People with unsupported ADHD are at much higher risk for addiction, lack of thriving, suicide, divorce, accidents, acts of violence, shame and failure than their neurotypical peers. 


It would surprise you then that one of the world’s leading experts in ADHD, Dr Edward Hallowel describes an ADHD diagnosis as “A good news diagnosis.” 

How is an ADHD diagnosis good news?

  The good news  and cause for REAL HOPE is that  the child with ADHD is “just one diagnosis and treatment plan away from turning their  (his/her life?) lives around”,   explain Drs Hallowell and Ratey in ADHD 2.0

ADHD  is neither entirely a disability nor entirely an asset. 

We’ll see  that  medicine really does help AND that medicine alone is not enough:  Together with life strategies we can unlock increasing success in kids with ADHD and minimize disadvantage and disability.  

Of all the Wonderful Wirings ADHD can see the rapid,  dramatic improvement from  a treatment plan that uses both medicine and better strategies that work ‘with the ADHD brain, not against it’.

That’s what Jessica’s work is about on the How to ADHD channel and in her brand new book by the same title available this month!

But how do I even know if what I’m seeing in my child is ADHD?

It helps to know  that ADHD has three different kind of presentations:

1.   If a child has at least six out of the nine diagnostic criteria defined as INATTENTIVE; she will be diagnosed as ADHD -inattentive primarily.  This is what used to be called ADD because it didn’t present with hyperactive characteristics.  Today we don’t use ADD as a diagnosis anymore.

2. If a child has at least six out of nine of the characteristics (in a way that impairs their life,  is persistent for more than the last 6 months and presented before the age of 12) defined as  hyperactive; he is given a diagnosis of  ADHD- H or Hyperactive primarily. 

3.  Finally ADHD-C (ADHD Combined) is  diagnosed when a child has at least six out of nine characteristics on both axes of Inattention and Hyperactivity.

I have created a summary/ checklist of these characteristics for you to download as a reference here.

You can also check out this video of Jessica’s as a wonderful start if you think you or your child might have ADHD.  (It turns out ADHD apples don’t fall far from their trees as it’s one of the most heritable Wonderfully Wired traits)

You can also visit and use their Take Note tool to help you understand how your child is struggling and whether an ADHD assessment is the next move for your family.

Then join us all month as we discover  some of the life strategies that successful people like Jessica and Dr Hallowel (who have ADHD), employ to make the most of their gifts and grow in their challenges.

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