Friday, August 22, 2008

How To Cope With Kids With ADHD

19 Facts About ADHD

ADHD is an acronym for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

ADHD is a set of chronic conditions marked by an inability to pay attention, hyperactivity and a tendency to engage in impulsive acts.

Children with ADHD often struggle academically and may have difficulty establishing friendships and other relationships. As a result, they may develop poor self-esteem.

There are three different forms of ADHD that affect children: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive and combined.

Predominantly inattentive ADHD is marked by difficulty paying attention.

Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD is marked by difficulty controlling behavior.
Combined ADHD combines symptoms of the other two forms of ADHD.

Combined ADHD is the most common form of ADHD.

Between 3 and 5 percent of school-aged children - or about 2 million children in the United States - have ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Boys are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, but the condition affects girls as well.

The exact cause of ADHD remains unknown.

Scientists now believe that changes in brain structure are a leading cause of ADHD.

Heredity also appears to play a role in the development of ADHD.

Poor parenting or disruptions at home or school cannot cause ADHD, although they may exacerbate the condition.

Diagnosis of AHD usually involves a variety of tests and interviews with parents, teachers and other adults who can describe the child's behavior.

Medications called psychostimulant drugs are the most common treatment for ADHD and appear to be extremely effective.

Psychotherapy is also helpful, particularly in children who are diagnosed with other disorders associated with ADHD.

Specialized learning techniques can help children with ADHD to perform better in school.

Parents can help their children to better deal with ADHD by providing additional structure to the child's life and making expectations clear.

ADD/ADHD: How 6 Moms Manage Their Child's Daily Life

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a popular parenting buzzword today, often overused to describe kids who have trouble concentrating and sitting still. While ADD may be over-hyped, it is a real syndrome that can be medically diagnosed and treated (if you suspect your child has ADD, please consult a doctor).

For those of you who have children who have been diagnosed with ADD, other parents who've been there have the following tips to share on helping your child deal with daily life. Even if your child doesn't have ADD, these tips may help give your home life some supportive structure.

Establishing a homework routine"In order for my son to get his homework done, I make him come home every day and do his homework immediately. He is not allowed to go out and play until his homework is done. I know everything I've read says that's not the way to do it. But I do it for two reasons.

First he does the same thing every day -- when he comes home he sits down and does the work. There is never a question of whether or not he can go outside so he doesn't ask.

Second, the subject is still fresh in his mind from school. At first I had to stand over him while he did it to keep him on task. I know that part is hard.

But it only took him a year to get it under control himself. He comes right home and does it without even asking to go out."

Providing a daily schedule"I have three checklists for my son: Shane's Good Morning, Golden

Rules For After School and Shane's Bedtime Routine. They act as reminders for what he is expected to do each and every day. They save me from repeating things 100 times. Now I only have to repeat myself 50 times!"

Enabling good behavior"My son just went through a bad spell as well for a couple of weeks. Just miserable to be around, in trouble in the after school program, at home, etc. For some reason, who knows why (the alignment of the planets, a change in the water system, my mother-in-law's novenas), he has been great this week.

I try to praise him to death when his behavior is good so that I hope he'll get this picture. I tell him until I'm blue in the face that he can do anything, including being good. I give anyone who is in contact with him, coaches, etc., hints and tips on how to get the most out of him and to understand where he's coming from."

A new perspective on medication"My son is 8, and he has been on medication for ADHD since he was 5. Like other parents of ADD kids, I spent many an agonizing day wondering if I had done the right thing by medicating him instead of trying something else. You know, though, I have found that agonizing is a waste of time, and that it just makes us all miserable. (Oh, I still do it, don't get me wrong.)

I want to encourage all of you who have children on medication to realize that this is a tool to help your child. After all, if your child was handicapped, you would use a wheelchair, and if he couldn't see, you would buy him glasses. As long as you are confident that your child has been diagnosed correctly, you should not second-guess yourself.

Now I need someone to tell me that the next time I wonder."A look ahead"I am a parent of an ADD child, and if you are anything like me, you are wondering what the light at the end of the tunnel will be.

I want to share one of my experiences as a teacher because it has helped me see that there is a light. One of my students from three years ago (10th grade) was severely ADD. He was not hyper, but he just could not get it together. I despaired of ever getting him to pass my class, and, in fact, he did not. His mom, though, was wonderful. The parent of three ADD children, she made him come back and take my class again, though he could have had another teacher. She made him take responsibility, and she supported him all the way. This same child is now in college, and he is doing great. He has found something he loves to do, and he has taken off! I have found that most ADHD children really need to find something they love to do, and it can make all the difference in their lives."
Finding a niche"My son floundered for years looking for his thing. He was not athletic at all and it was a chore just to get him to go out and play. He is more the nerdy kind of kid. I never would have thought I would ever hear myself say,

'Get your nose out of the book and go out and play,' but I found myself doing it a lot. Last summer he auditioned for a children's summer theater and although he got a small part in the beginning, it ended up being a major role after lots of kids dropped out.

He absolutely loved it and thrived! In the fall we enrolled him in a program called Cinekyd. They have all kinds of areas where the kids can work making a weekly television series for the local cable channel. My son chose to do computer-animated special effects. He absolutely loves it and does very well at it.

After visiting their open house it appears that there are lots of ADD kids there that just thrive. I am very happy that he seems to finding 'His Thing' and is taking many of those ADD traits and putting them to positive, constructive use."

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