Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders in children. It affects interpersonal relationships with family and peers, as well as performance in school.
Does my child have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder?
There are three subtypes of ADHD.
- Predominantly Inattentive
- Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsivity
- Combined presentation (attention difficulties and hyperactivity/impulsivity)
If you suspect your child of having ADHD, or are just plain curious, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my child have difficulty sustaining attention to a task? (Inattentive)
- Does my child fail to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes? (Inattentive)
- Does my child seem to not listen when spoken to directly? (Inattentive)
- Does my child have a difficult time completing a task? (Inattentive)
- Does my child try to avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort? (Inattentive)
- Does my child often looses things necessary for tasks or activities? (Inattentive)
- Is my child often forgetful during daily activities? (Inattentive)
- Does my child become distracted by unrelated stimuli that results in straying from the task at hand? (Inattentive)
- Does my child have a difficult time creating and using organizational skills? (Inattentive)
- Does my child appear to be in constant motion? Examples include being restless, squirming, fidgeting, climbing, and running. (Hyperactive)
- Does my child often leave their seat during times when staying seated is expected? (Hyperactive)
- Is my child unable to play or engage in activities quietly? (Hyperactive)
- Does my child talk excessively? (Hyperactive)
- Does my child have a hard time waiting for their turn to talk? (Hyperactive)
- Does my child do things without thinking such as blurting answers out before the question is asked (or before called on in school), interrupting others, and/or touching others, their property, or producing sloppy work due to rushing? (Hyperactive)
Some parents whose children have ADHD may find it stressful and feel a sense of diminished sense of parenting competence. The good news is, there are effective interventions you can use at home.
These interventions focus on teaching you to identify and modify environmental factors that may cause your child’s problematic behavior. Research suggests that when you can find the reason behind (the function) your child’s behavior, it can be used as a basis for choosing the intervention that fits the needs of your child and can improve the outcome.
Lets get started!
Some of the things you can do are:
1. Look at your child as a good child with a special need. I believe that all children are “good”. They sometimes make the wrong choices, but we can work together on fixing that. I also tell children that too! When we say this to our children and back it up with action, we send the message that we care and are there for them no matter what.
2. Focus on your child’s strengths and emphasize what is positive. Use your words and actions (hugs, high fives) to show that you are proud of them.
3. Set aside quality time with your child everyday. Play a board game, bake cookies, go outside, or set up a scavenger hunt in and around the house. Your children will love it!
4. Plan ahead if you introduce new concepts and also for challenging situations. Give your children notice before a change to the regular schedule takes place, talk one-on-one with your child to answer any questions they have and to tell them about behavior expectations. Also, keep in mind the age of your child when disclosing information to them. For example, if a family member has died, a young child does not need to hear of all the details surrounding the death – even though the questions may be asked.
5. Establish an exercise routine that pushes your child’s heart rate to at least 170 beats per minute for at least 20 minute most days of the week. This active lifestyle has been proven to increase blood flow to the brain and improves functioning of children with ADHD.
6. Do your best to decrease distractions in the surroundings of your child; especially when doing homework or other important tasks that requiring focusing.
7. Provide movement to your child when required to sit and focus on a task. For example, provide an exercise ball to sit on instead of a chair to do homework or to read. You could also try giving your child a stress ball to squeeze to help exert extra energy.
8. Be an active listener by using eye contact, paraphrasing what your child says, and asking questions that show you are genuinely interesting in what they are saying. Model, teach, and encourage your child to do the same.
9. Provide clear and consistent rules that are routinely established and applied. Implement positive and negative consequences so that your child learns and sticks to the boundaries that are set. Providing positive consequences tells your child that you pay attention to all the good choices that are made too!
10. Make sure that all adults dealing with your child support the rules that have been set. I know this can be hard when grandparents want to spoil your children. Make it a point to express your expectations directly to others and in front of your child so that everyone is on the same page.
11. Give clear and simple instructions and use eye contact. Start with a one or two step directions. If your child understands the instructions and the consequences associated, you can try to increase the complexity.
12. Be patient and firm at the same time.
13. Do not talk a situation ‘to death’ and refrain from arguing with your child. It is important to choose your battles. Some children seek out negative attention and may enjoy the verbal banter. Give your directions in simple terms and then walk away and stop talking. Once everyone is calm, a conversation can occur if needed.
14. Praise your child after appropriate behavior is shown, and help them to recognize their own strengths and accomplishments.
With early recognition of ADHD, appropriate interventions can be put into place and counseling can begin to help the family cope with the stress. Environmental changes, such as those listed above, can help improve and redirect behavior in more productive ways.
Involvement of parents in identifying behavior problems and applying appropriate interventions at home is what will help to make all the difference in supporting children with ADHD. An enriched home environment that can adapt routines and practices to make experiences of children with ADHD healthier for their development is highly desirable in order to build a positive self-concept.
Further strategies are within reach!
The Building Blocks of Positive Parenting is our exclusive book that contains a wealth of interventions for ADHD and other common childhood disorders and behavioral concerns.
You will also find that it is packed with guidance to help you achieve a solid and positive parenting foundation in your home!
The best part of this awesome book is that you don’t have to read the entire thing! You get to pick and choose what sections your family could benefit from the most. With all of the practical ideas, reproducible behavior systems, and time tested advice; it truly is the easiest to use resource manual available to parents today. ~Now that sounds like what parents can use as we juggle life’s many tasks!