Busting ADHD myths

By Psychologist Judy McKay

“The things that make me different are the things that make me ME” – Winnie the Pooh

If you have a child with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) you might find yourself regularly having to bust ADHD myths and educate others about what ADHD actually is and is not. Below are some commonly held ADHD beliefs and the evidence for why they simply aren’t true!

“Only boys have ADHD”

Research suggests that boys are up to twice as likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD. Why? We think that girls with ADHD can sometimes be overlooked or misunderstood because they don’t always seem hyperactive. Instead, these children might show more of the inattentive type symptoms of ADHD (e.g., daydreaming) which are less widely identified and understood. Therefore, ADHD in girls is said to be underdiagnosed.

“ADHD is just an excuse for poor behaviour”

Children with ADHD do not have an attitude problem! They struggle to focus, plan, organise, problem solve, self-regulate and self-monitor because of the way their brain works (in particular their executive functioning part). Just like all children, they are better able to focus when doing something they enjoy or something that is new and exciting or rewarding.

“ADHD is caused by poor parenting”

ADHD is a neurological condition meaning that the child’s brain is simply wired this way. Whilst some studies show that the way a parent manages their child with ADHD can help to increase or decrease child-parent conflict ultimately, ADHD is NOT due to parenting.

“ADHD is a lifelong condition”

Most children with ADHD will continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. However, the impact that their symptoms have on their everyday functioning can reduce significantly as they get older and as they learn ways to cope and manage their ADHD.




Judy is a registered psychologist with a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology. Judy has experience working with young people, their families and extended support networks across educational, clinical and community-based settings. Judy enjoys working creatively and flexibly with children and adolescents to explore their difficult emotions and experiences. In the past, Judy has supported young people experiencing a range of neuro-developmental disorders, anxiety, trauma, social skill and emotional regulation difficulties. Judy values the individual needs of each client and attempts to incorporate their personal interests, strengths and goals throughout therapy. Judy utilises a client-centred approach to her therapy which is grounded in cognitive-behaviour therapy and other evidenced-based techniques.

Judy has a background in providing pastoral care to children and adolescents within educational settings. These experiences have enabled Judy to connect and build relationships with students of all ages, in addition to understanding the challenges typically faced by school-aged children. Judy encourages her clients to take a holistic approach to therapy and values communication with a client’s wider support network. This helps to promote positive client outcomes across all aspects of day to day life. Outside of work, Judy loves spending time at the beach or in the countryside. She further enjoys playing social sports and prioritises spending time with friends and family.

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