Download brochure in English: What is ADHD? 

Download brochure in English: Children and ADHD

What is ADHD?

ADHD is an abbreviation for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is a psychiatric disorder of the neurodevelopmental type. The symptoms usually begin at an early age. There is no link what so ever between intelligence and ADHD, but it can have a major effect on everyday life, e.g. the ability to work, develop social skills and study.

ADHD has an impact on the lives of many individuals and families. They face many challenges on a daily basis since life with ADHD is not an easy one, especially in modern society.

The ADHD organization addresses many issues that concern individuals diagnosed with ADHD and their families. Its main goal is to increase understanding of ADHD and the challenges it entails.  It works to ensure that individuals with ADHD are met with understanding and receive proper assistance so that they can improve their lives.

The organization also provides education for parents, families and professionals on the disorder. We work in close collaboration with professionals and the country’s top specialists on the issue. To achieve our goals and increase society’s understanding of the disorder the ADHD organization needs your support. With greater support of our work we can provide people with ADHD with a better standard of living and a greater understanding of their situation.

The right support at the right time is needed

Main symptoms


Individuals are easily distracted and have a hard time disregarding outside influences. They struggle with maintaining focus and attention when solving problems, their mind wanders easily, they don´t listen very well and they even forget what they were about to say. Inability to organize is a common symptom of ADHD and people with the disorder often have a hard time organizing tasks at work or home. The inattention can therefore have a large impact on their ability to work and study. Usually this doesn’t surface until performing tasks that require a great deal of attention or when starting school.

FIDGETING/HYPERACTIVITY Individuals are very restless and have a hard time relaxing, sitting still, watching a movie or listening to a lecture. These individuals often talk nonstop and loud. They are constantly in motion and usually have some projects going on, often many at a time. Fidgeting is often most prominent at an early age but evolves into inner restlessness in teenage and adult years.

IMPULSIVENESS Individuals can be impatient, break into conversations or games, and are prone to impulsive shopping. They easily get themselves into trouble since they often act without thinking and have a hard time realizing the consequences of their actions. Among the symptoms in adults is a difficulty keeping a job and they often have break ups in relationships. Their impulsive decisions can lead to financial obligations that they cannot afford. Boys are more often diagnosed with ADHD than girls, probably because they tend to be more hyperactive than girls and therefore more often undergo analysis. In addition to these symptoms, adult individuals often suffer from mood swings, excitability, are stress sensitive and have difficulties organizing.

Bear in mind that the symptoms differ in type and magnitude from person to person and depending on their age.

What causes ADHD?

Environment and circumstances during childhood used to be considered defining factors in the development af ADHD. Nowadays researches have shown that heredity is the most prominent factor. Often more than one individual in the same family has ADHD, although that’s not always the case. Bad upbringing and childhood insecurity do not cause ADHD.

Researches show that the most prominent factors causing ADHD are: • Heredity (60–80% of cases are believed to be hereditary) • A shock during pregnancy • Premature delivery • Brain damage in the first year • Diseases or accidents • Other developmental disorders

The causes of ADHD are biological and are the result of a disruption of the flow of transmitters in the brain in areas that play an important role in controlling behavior and attention.

Different types of ADHD


  • ADHD with a deciding inappropriate inattention
  • ADHD with deciding hyperactivity and impulsiveness
  • ADHD with both inappropriate inattention and hyperactivity and impulsiveness

"Approx. 7–10% of children are thought to have ADHD and approx.4-5% of adults, or roughly 6-8.000 children and 10-12.000 adults in Iceland."

Solutions for ADHD

Personal victories in everyday life help individuals with ADHD to relieve stress and face difficulties. Everyone needs praise but children with ADHD thrive on it. Therefore it is important to give them praise that encourages and strengthens proper behavior and boosts their self confidence and self image.

ORGANIZATION Individuals with ADHD are usually very disorganized. Therefore a well organized day suits children with ADHD well, i.e. simple and well defined rules and routines such as set times for eating and sleeping. Adults with ADHD often need some help organizing their lives. Various tools can be used to get a better perspective on everyday life, i.e. computers, mobile telephones, graphic instructions, bank payment services and many more.

COOPERATION/SUPPORT Good cooperation between parents, schools and all others that participate in the lives of children with ADHD creates an ideal environment. The right support increases the odds for the children to overcome their difficulties and play on their strength.

TREATMENT Supporting conversation, interviews with a therapist, cognitive psychology and behavioral methods in upbringing have all shown good results. Drug therapy can also help, but in the long term the best result has been achieved through a combination of drugs and behavioral therapy.

WAYS TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS People with ADHD face different problems in their daily life. Therefore the solutions differ from one individual to the other. The families of children with ADHD have to help find the solutions appropriate to each child so they can face the challenges of everyday life so that their strengths can flourish. Similarly, adults with ADHD have to find the solutions that best fit their needs and strengths. An organized sleeping pattern can be a part of that solution, as well as exercise, routines and dividing larger projects into smaller ones, but first and foremost setting realistic.

You matter to us - We want you on our team

  • You can easily become a member on our website www.adhd.is
  • Organizations and companies can become sponsors either with a single donation or a monthly contribution.
  • All members and sponsors can either receive the newsletter via mail or email with information on the organization’s activities.
  • Members and sponsors can receive information about new studies and the latest proceedings with regard to ADHD on an international level on a regular basis.

The ADHD Association has an office at  Háaleitisbraut 13 108 Reykjavík


Dial 581 1110 for information or consultation, or contact us via email adhd@adhd.is You can also find information on ADHD-related issues on our website www.adhd.is and read all our booklets.

Qualities and strengths of ADHD

Although ADHD has many negative aspects one must bear in mind that for many individuals it also emphasizes qualities and strength that should be praised and encouraged. It’s very important that people with ADHD, their families and everyone in their environment appreciate and nurture such qualities. People with ADHD have various qualities and there are a many artists and achievers among them.

These strong qualities mean that they are:

  • Open
  • Direct
  • Forceful
  • Caring
  • Observant
  • Inquisitive
  • Enthusiastic
  • Have a vivid imagination
  • Creative
  • Charming
  • Warm
  • Caring
  • Curious
  • Don’t hold a grudge for long
  • Sincere
  • Impressionable
  • Optimistic
  • Honest
  • Inventive
  • Lively
  • Not afraid to try new things
  • Require less sleep
  • Have a great sense of humor
  • Helpful
  • Find new solutions to problems
  • Unconventional approach
  • In high spirits
  • Teasing
  • Forgive easily
  • Solid friends
  • Tender


At the moment there are about 2,600 members and there is certainly room for more. The main objective is to:

  • Provide information about ADHD to families and individuals
  • Operate an information hotline for advice and support
  • Hold courses, symposiums and support- and educational meetings
  • Provide a wide range of information abour ADHD on their website www.adhd.is
  • Publish a newsletter 2–3 times a year
  • Look out for the interests of people with ADHD in dealing with authorities
  • Maintain a Facebook page
  • The organization depends on funding and support from individuals, companies and institutions
  • Participate in an international cooperation and have close connection with the ADHD-organizations in the other Nordic countries.
  • The ADHD Organization works with the consultation center Sjónarhóll which gives free personal service for families.
  • Sjónarhól’s counsellors are experienced and have extensive knowledge of the issues faced by people with ADHD.