SYDNEY (02) 9387 6166 - Clinic of the Sydney Cognitive Development Centre

ADHD Assessment & Treatment Centres

How ADHD affects younger children (<12 years)

ADHD in children
  • Gets bored easily from playing games
  • Frequently loses toys or homework
  • Forgets or struggles to complete homework
  • Doesn’t appear to listen when being spoken to
  • Trouble following instructions
  • Distracted easily by other things going on in the room
  • Hurting themselves often from running around or climbing on things.
  • Can’t sit still and squirms when watching TV or when eating out in a restaurant,
  • Finds it hard to play quietly often
  • Talking a lot and interrupts your conversations frequently without asking
  • Struggles to wait their turn, impatient
  • Struggling to form friendships with other children
  • Struggle to keep up with other kids in class
  • Poorer grades
  • Receive more punishment than other kids


How ADHD affects teenagers

Distracted ADHD teenager
  • Gets bored completing class work
  • Appears to daydream frequently
  • Loses homework or textbooks
  • Forgets to complete assignments or chores
  • Careless or rushes in completing an assignment
  • Disrupting other peers or teachers in class by talking excessively
  • Blurting out answers inappropriately in class
  • Feelings restless
  • Taking over what others are doing
  • Fidgeting in their seat, tapping their foot or fingers
  • Poor concentration: focus on other things except that task at hand
  • Take more risks i.e. driving recklessly
  • Abuse Alcohol or drugs
  • Difficulty waiting in line
  • Poorer school grades
  • May not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities because of poorer academic performance and inappropriate behaviours i.e. sporting teams
  • Difficulty in forming friendships
  • Being left out of social groups/gathering

How ADHD affects adults

Distracted adult ADHD
  • Daydreaming frequently
  • Careless work performance
  • Missing important deadlines
  • Late to appointments
  • Hard to focus and pay attention throughout meetings
  • Unable to read for lengths of time
  • Losing keys or wallet frequently
  • Fidgeting or tapping hands
  • Often gets up: leaves their workplace desk, taking more breaks
  • Take more risks, i.e. driving recklessly
  • Abuse Alcohol or drugs
  • Difficulty waiting in line
  • Uncomfortable sitting still in workplace meetings or eating out at a restaurant
  • Completes other people’s sentences, interrupts conversations
  • Impact chances of getting into university/TAFE or receiving a promotion at work
  • Difficulties in maintaining employment
  • Strained social relationships
  • Poorer quality of life

How ADHD affects families

Parent of child with ADHD

ADHD is not only a challenging disorder for the person who has it, but also for those people closest to them. Often misunderstandings can arise between a person with ADHD and their family and, can be exacerbated when the family members have little education and strategies to effectively cope. As such, their behaviours may be misinterpreted as deliberate attempts to gain attention or cause a ruckus. They also can come across as being rude, inappropriate, ignorant or disrespectful. Parents and siblings around them can become quite frustrated, irritated or annoyed. Especially, when they are repeating these behaviours on a daily basis. Consequently, relationships between a child with ADHD with their parents and siblings can become strained.

The types of strain families can experience are revealed in some recent studies. One published in 2015 highlighted the type of strain child and mother pairs who both had ADHD could experience. They found amongst the pairs that 49% experienced negative feelings toward their child, 37% of partnerships were affected, 31% expressed implications in their social lives and 27% identified financial strain. Another study in 2016 revealed how siblings were impacted when one child was diagnosed with ADHD. Here, siblings reported lower levels of happiness with their family and with life overall in comparison to families where no child was diagnosed with ADHD. There was also evidence of greater levels of bullying amongst siblings in families where a child was diagnosed with ADHD.  These studies show how quality of life for families and siblings can diminish when one child has ADHD.



Fleck, K., Jacob, C., Philipsen, A., Matthies, S., & Graf, E. (2015). Child impact on family functioning: a multivariate analysis in multiplex families with children and mothers both affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 7(3), 211-223. doi: 10.1007/s12402-014-0164-8

Peasgood, T., Bhardwaj, A., Biggs, K., Brazier, J. E., Coghill, D., Cooper, C. L., . . . Sonuga-barke, E. (2016). The impact of ADHD on the health and well-being of ADHD children and their siblings. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 25(11), 1217-1231. doi: 10.1007/s00787-016-0841-6