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ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It affects between 0.5-5% of UK children, and is more common in boys than girls. APD stands for auditory processing disorder.

ADHD is characterised by:

  • Inattention - cannot listen or concentrate for long, cannot finish tasks, distractible, forgetful, disorganised
  • Overactive - unable to sit still, fidgety, restless, running about most of the time, constantly talking
  • Impulsive  - unable to wait or take turns, speaking without thinking about the consequences, interrupting

Children with APD may have difficulties with listening, or making sense of the sounds heard, particularly in environments with a lot of background noise. They usually have normal levels of hearing and normal intelligence. APD often becomes more obvious when children start at school.

What should I do?

If you think any of this sounds familiar, go to your GP and ask them to refer you to CAMHS. It will help to speak to teachers to see if the behaviour is the same at school.

Children with ADHD respond best to clear boundaries and consistent expectations, but this can be very difficult to maintain under the stress and strains of parenting.


It is important to do a full assessment to make sure there isn't another explanation for the behaviour, so a CAMHS worker will meet with the family and go through lots of questionnaires. These will also be sent to school so we can see if the behaviour is the same there as it is at home. There might be observations so we can see how things look outside of the clinic.


Sometimes we will recommend you complete a parenting course that is aimed at managing challenging behaviour in children. If medication is felt necessary, this will be discussed with your clinician. 

There are no medications to treat APD.

Sound discrimination is one of the main difficulties for those with APD. This means they can have trouble hearing the difference between certain sounds or may hear certain sounds incorrectly. They might say dat for that or free for three.

Speech therapy can help children with APD make those sounds better and more clearly. Speech therapists can also help children:

  • Improve perception of individual sounds (phonemes) in words, which can help with reading skills
  • Develop active listening skills, like asking a person to repeat directions
  • Use language appropriately in social situations

There are other treatments available.


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