A Brief Description: ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders. The main symptoms displayed by children with ADHD involve difficulty paying attention and concentrating difficulty controlling behavior (impulsivity), and hyperactivity.
For diagnosis a child must have 6 or more of the symptoms listed below for a period of at least 6 months:
- Easily distracted, forgetting easily
- Difficulty focusing, switching from one activity to another quickly
- Easily bored (unless it is something they enjoy a lot)
- Difficulty organizing and completing tasks whether at home or with regard to schoolwork, losing or misplacing materials necessary to complete tasks
- Difficulty completing homework
- Poor listening skills
- Easily confused, daydreaming
- Difficulty following instructions
When related to impulsive behavior:
- Impatient -beyond normal child impatience (difficulty waiting for things)
- Emotionally reactive; unable to control behavior or comments regardless of possible consequences.
- Interrupts people when speaking
- Fidgets and moves around a lot when sitting.
- Talks incessantly
- Constantly moving, touching things, playing with everything in sight
- Difficulty staying calm and quiet during activities which call for calm and quiet
What can you do as a parent to help
It is only natural that some frustration, anger, and blame may build up on parents, especially before a diagnosis is made and treatment is underway.
Alternatives to Medication:
- Seek out help from a professional for yourself as well as your child. Your physician or child psychologists specializing in children with ADHD are good places to start. Parental support has proven to be very beneficial for the parents, diagnosed child, and other family members.
- Mental health professionals can educate and guide parents to develop new skills, attitudes, and structured environments for the child.
- Use a system of reward and consequences to help change a child’s behavior.
- Ignore or redirect behavior you want to discourage.
- Time outs (removing the child from the upsetting situation) will help the child calm down.
- Spend quality time with your child engaging in an activity that your child enjoys and is good at. Praise him/her during this time spent together.
- Divide chores and tasks into small portions. Give one task at a time (as opposed to a list)
- Keep your own emotions in check as best you can when relating to your child. Mediating or learning stress management techniques may be very helpful.
- Making time for yourself each day
- Family therapy may be important to assess all family members as everyone is affected by ADHD Keep the same routine every day – schedule a specific time for homework, playtime, and chores
- Display the daily schedule in a place where your child can easily see it such as the refrigerator or bulletin board.
- Keep everything in its place. Use homework and notebook organizers.
- Be clear and consistent.
- Give praise and or rewards when rules are followed.
For more information or to schedule an appointment contact: Inner Light Counseling Center
285 East Main Street Somerville. NJ