ADHD diagnosis

How is ADHD diagnosed?

ADHD is an official condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) which lists three presentations of ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive and Combined, listed below.

Children need to have 6 or more of the symptoms below to be diagnosed. The diagnosis is made by recognising patterns of behaviour, observing the child, obtaining reports of their behaviour at home and at school. Some children also need specialised tests by clinical or educational psychologist.

If you feel that your child may have ADHD, speak to your GP and your child’s school for advice on how you can seek a referral for assessment.  Look on our contact page to find out how to get in touch if you have any questions for us.


ADHD predominantly inattentive presentation

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention
  • Does not appear to listen
  • Struggles to follow through with instructions
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Loses things
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful in daily activities


ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair
  • Has difficulty remaining seated
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in children; extreme restlessness in adults
  • Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
  • Acts as if driven by a motor; adults will often feel inside as if they are driven by a motor
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns interrupts or intrudes upon others


ADHD combined presentation

  • The individual meets the criteria for both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presentations.



NICE guidelines on diagnosis