What is ADHD?
ADHD, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopment disorder of… childhood. It’s usually diagnosed in childhood and lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, have impulsive behaviors, and are overly active.
I have three beautiful kids full of energy that I couldn’t explain. I mean kids are always full of energy, but this was on another level. One of my sons, the eldest, is very forgetful, he has a hard time staying on tasks or focusing for a period of time. He has difficulties making decisions of his own, it’s almost as if without my guidance he’s lost. But before all these symptoms become problematic, he was receiving services for a developmental delay. After a couple of months in therapy, his therapists suggested he gets evaluated for ADHD. We eventually voice our concerns to his primary care who diagnosed him with a combined ADHD and ADD.
Signs and symptom
We all know it’s normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving one time or another. However, children with ADHD don’t grow out of these behaviors. In fact, the symptoms continue and cause difficulty at school, home, with friends. A child with ADHD might:
- Forget or lost things a lot
- Talk too much
- Has a hard time resisting temptation
- Make careless mistakes
- Easily distracted
- Has difficulties with organizational skills
- Does not follow through on instructions
- Often reluctant to do activities that require mental effort over a long period of time
- Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Has trouble holding attention on tasks
My reaction to my son diagnosis
I had to learn about ADHD and how to help my child succeed in school and in all his endeavors. It’s my life so it only helps me to learn how to be productive with him. I thought all he needs is a good team of therapists helping him control his movements and focus. However, the longer I wait to medicate him, the harder it is for him to meet up with the classroom requirements. Moreover, his peers started noticing his challenges which made him more frustrated with himself for being different. I had to medicate him to lessen his symptoms and help him succeed. But it took a specialist to knock some senses into me to make the decision, it wasn’t just what he said that changed my view on medications and their possible side effects but how he said it. Simply put, he said, “Your child’s brain has a deficiency of a special neurotransmitter called Norepinephrine resulting in the symptoms that he’s having. It’s like diabetes, your pancreas is not producing enough insulin so you decide to do therapy, how is therapy going to help your body produce more insulin?” This is when it became clear to me that I needed to do more for my child to succeed.
How do I help my child deal with his challenges?
It takes patience, compassion, plenty of support and consistency to care for a child with ADHD. And remember, what might work for an individual might not work for another. Explore some of the techniques below to find what works for your child.
- Establish a bedtime routine
- Lower activity level an hour or so before bedtime
- Create a quiet place for your child to do his homework, this helps reduce distraction and helps your child get more work done
- Maintain a positive attitude, when you’re calm and focus, you can effectively help your child stay calm and focus
- Believe in your child, let him or she knows that you believe in them
- Create a structured routine and stick to it, this reduces anxiety in your child
- Simplify your child’s schedule to avoid more distraction and wounding him up
- Be neat and organized as kids learn most behaviors from their parents, but this skill set is exceptionally difficult for kids with ADHD
- Decrease screen time
- Eliminate caffeine from their diet
- Reward your child with privileges, praises, or activities
- Change reward frequently to keep him motivated, kids with ADHD get bored if the reward is the same
- Always follow through with a reward, immediate rewards work better
- Always follow through with consequences
- Consequences should be spelled out in advance and occur immediately after your child misbehaves
- Speak softly but honestly with your child’s challenges and how he can change