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What Parents of Children with ADHD Should Know

AD/HD is thought to be a developmental delay in the prefrontal cortex’s maturation. The brain’s capacity to transfer neurotransmitters, which regulate attention, concentration, and impulsivity, is negatively impacted by this developmental delay. The majority of parents are more experienced with delays in speech development, physical growth, and coordination.

AD/HD has nothing to do with IQ, intelligence, or the child’s character

The brain doesn’t seem to have a suitable CEO or orchestra conductor to guide its operations. It is thought that a number of extremely accomplished individuals, like Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein, suffered from AD/HD. When it came to issues that did not excite or pique his interest, Einstein struggled. Edison had issues that led one of his teachers to write that he was “addled,” which is shorthand for confused or unable to think straight. Because he was emotionally impulsive, or had trouble controlling his emotions, Steve Jobs alienated a lot of individuals.

Oppositional defiant syndrome

Oppositional defiant syndrome develops in half of children with AD/HD. It occurs because their impulsivity, lack of focus, difficulty concentrating, and short-term memory issues commonly cause them to have issues at home and at school. They become quite irritated because they perceive the incessant adjustments as criticism.

They eventually grow to have a pessimistic, antagonistic, and dejected attitude toward teachers and other authoritative authorities.The child typically stays away from studying, homework, and schoolwork.To get around this, they frequently lie.Some children even lie about being sick in order to avoid attending school.

Since many children with AD/HD get bored easily, they require a lot of stimulus.These kids have limitless access to extremely thrilling and enjoyable video games.They also get a great deal of pleasure from breaking rules and conventions.Children with AD/HD behave impulsively and lack the necessary judgment to weigh the pros and drawbacks of their choices.

Children with AD/HD frequently lack social skills due to impulsivity and poor judgment.Particularly the more popular kids, they frequently feel different from the other youngsters.Kids with AD/HD frequently attempt to make up for this by acting like the “class clown” or engaging in other improper attention-seeking activities.

Children with AD/HD, in my experience, can grow up anxious, with low self-esteem and a hypersensitivity to irritation and perceived mistakes or failures. Their social and familial lives may suffer greatly as a result of this feeling of insecurity and self-criticism. When this happens, getting advice from an expert with experience in AD/HD can help the entire family get back on track.

When diagnosed, some children with AD/HD are classified as just inattentive rather than the “Hyperactive-Impulsive type.”Children with AD/HD who are not paying attention are frequently called “daydreamers” or “space cadets.”They might also struggle to properly engage with classmates due to shyness and/or anxiety.

Medication has the potential to improve behavior and academic performance.

When treating children with inattentive and/or hyperactive-impulsive AD/HD, the American Medical Association suggests using medication and behavior therapy together. Without appropriate medication, some children with AD/HD cannot benefit from therapy; this allows them to learn more effectively and better regulate their impulses.

It is also important to take into account the psychological repercussions of having AD/HD.If the signs of AD/HD are not treated, the kid will frequently face rejection from peers, teachers, and other parents.The youngster may experience social rejection as a result (bullying, invitations to play dates or birthday parties, etc.).

Together, the aforementioned factors gravely impair the child’s sense of self. The child with AD/HD begins to say things like “I’m bad. I’m dumb, and no one likes me. The child’s self-esteem plummets, and he or she feels most at ease around troublesome friends who accept them. According to statistics, this trend may increase the likelihood of indifference, anxiety, and academic failure.

Medicating your child is entirely up to you.

My area of expertise is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which aims to improve your child’s attitude and abilities while mitigating the symptoms of AD/HD.

Counseling parents to determine whether medicine is a suitable treatment for their child is one of my most significant responsibilities.Recent book AD/HD Nation by Alan Schwarz describes how medical professionals, therapists, school districts, and others frequently diagnose and treat children for AD/HD in a hasty manner.Helping your child without medicine is my aim.Medication may occasionally be required, at least temporarily.The amount of medicine your child needs can be reduced with therapy.

Parents frequently wait until the situation becomes unbearable before seeking therapy.The parent then feels overburdened when therapy does not start working right away and/or when the school is putting pressure on them (by sending frequent emails, notes, and phone calls).

Regretfully, there’s no magic bullet—not even medicine. I frequently have to assist the parent in realizing that continuing therapy or perhaps increasing its frequency until the child’s condition improves is the best approach to help them.However, there are a few extra-therapeutic methods that are worthwhile to take into account.

One suggestion is to enroll the youngster in extremely exciting extracurricular activities, such acting, dancing, gymnastics, karate, athletics, etc., as these can be very stimulating. But if the child feels that these activities are too hard, then they could not work.

Giving the child supplements like DHEA, fish oil, zinc, etc. is another option. You might also restrict the child’s diet to exclude processed foods, sweets, and gluten. But unless they are used in conjunction with other modalities like counseling, tutoring, parenting techniques, etc., these approaches frequently provide negligible results.

Expense-intensive choices such as biofeedback, “brain training,” or holistic treatment represent still another possibility. After 20 years of expertise in working with children, I can say with certainty that these methods are ineffective. None of these treatment options have been demonstrated to be reliable or effective by medical research. For this reason, a lot of insurance companies won’t cover them.

Another approach that is worthwhile is “mindfulness.”

A growing corpus of studies suggests that mindfulness training can enhance children’s capacity for paying attention, calming down during stressful situations, and making wiser judgments. I use this method frequently when I work with your child in therapy.

Focusing attention is a skill that may be developed and enhanced through the practice of mindfulness.The best way to cultivate attention is to become completely aware of what is going on right now.By focusing intently on what’s happening, a child can “slow down” their thoughts, impulses, and feelings.

This thus enables the youngster to feel “calm.”It is simpler to determine whether something is feasible when one is at ease.The parent and child going through this process “without judgment” is a crucial element.

An example of this would be discovering that your child has a book report that needs to be turned in in just one week after reading the book.When they “remind” their child multiple times in the days leading up to the deadline, most parents believe they are doing their child a favor.The child feels “nagged” and resentful, therefore they always tune the parent out.The parent could become irate and judgmental in response to this.

Using a mindfulness technique, a parent could schedule some quiet time for their child to concentrate on the work at hand (i.e. not really performing it).The youngster is then instructed by the parent to block out any opposing ideas or stimuli.

Subsequently, the parent requests that the youngster “imagine” completing the homework and explain what it would “look like.”The youngster is then instructed to concentrate on how plausible their “plan” appears.

The child’s plan will almost always begin with the hazy goal of reading the book and writing the report without any kind of timetable. Using mindfulness and concentrated attention, the parent would assist the youngster in making improvements to the plan. A true plan would set out achievable deadlines with contingency plans for unforeseen setbacks that may arise during that week.

When working with children and adolescents who have AD/HD, it is frequently required to add a “intention” to the activity.Many parents bemoan the lack of motivation their child exhibits in completing necessary schoolwork.In actuality, this indicates that the child lacks the motivation to follow through.Assisting the youngster in creating a mental image of what they want—such as their parents’ approval, praise, validation, acknowledgment, etc.—is necessary to help them form an intention.

Using this therapeutic technique, children are able to establish motivation to perform as well as intention.To determine a child’s level of mindfulness, a psychologist can administer the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (CAMM) Inventory.Online resources for mindfulness are available to parents.

Whenever a child may have AD/HD, it is advisable to have a neurological examination. Such an examination is required to verify the diagnosis and rule out any neurological conditions that might be underlying or aggravating the symptoms of AD/HD.

I also highly recommend reading up on AD/HD.

Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. of Yale University, explains in a book the state of study and understanding on AD/HD and how it negatively impacts children. A New Understanding of AD/HD in Children and Adults: Executive Function Impairments (2013) is the title of the book that can be found on Amazon. Associate Director of Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders is Dr. Brown. He gave a presentation, and I was really impressed with his expertise and useful suggestions.

The purpose of this post is not to scare you. If it does, I’m sorry. Instead, I hope you will gain from the information I have accumulated over the years of experience. The vast majority of AD/HD children I have worked with thrive as long as their parents are aware of their condition and provide them with the support, acceptance, and understanding they require.

Extra useful advice

The earliest indications of the illness are frequently brought on by a stressful circumstance or occurrence. It’s simple to incorrectly link the symptoms to stress. But often, the symptoms will persist in a milder form even after the stress is reduced or eliminated.

Children with AD/HD frequently improve during treatment before relapsing, which is typical of any behavior modification. Try not to lose hope if this happens. and continue to be upbeat in order to assist your child in making up any lost ground. Negative behavior, such as screaming, threatening, or being extremely critical or sarcastic, can just make the child feel more alienated and lead to additional issues like hostility, defiance, rebelliousness, etc.