Understanding ADHD, treatment for ADHD, and tips for parenting kids with ADHDl.
ADHD is often misdiagnosed. The term is often used to describe children who misbehave or are inattentive however there are very specific criteria for a child be to diagnosed with ADHD. Here are some things parents should know about ADHD and the diagnosis:
The following criteria is required in order to be diagnosed with ADHD according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition).
Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level.
Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level
If enough symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months.
If enough symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months.
If enough symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity but not inattention were present for the past six months.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
Diagnosis can be a form of relief for parents. Interventions can begin. The most effective form of treatment include behavior modification techniques, therapy and sometimes medication. Parents should work closely with behavior specialists and medical professionals but parents are the first line of treatment. If parents make changes in the home environment, children will be able to adapt and correct behaviors more quickly. Treatment is often customized to the child. Not all ADHD interventions work the same with all children. Parents will be able to tell what is effective. Children may outgrow ADHD.
Parents should research and understand their options in order to custom fit treatment to their child. Parents are the best advocates for their children as they have a better knowledge of how their child behaves in various situations. Parents who work with professionals enhance the effectiveness of treatment and shorten the amount of time necessary for a child to be successful.
The most common ADHD treatment usually involves behavior management, psychological counseling and, if necessary, medication. Therapy often includes behavioral techniques like the parenting classes on Smarter Parenting. Using the skill of Preventive Teaching, Correcting Behaviors and Effective Rewards and Consequences will help shape your child’s behaviors. Remember to be consistent. More than a dozen medications can be used in the treatment of ADHD for children ages 6 and up, according to the Mayo Clinic. Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications. But there are side effects to consider, including insomnia, decreased appetite, weight loss, headache and increased blood pressure. Working with a physician and monitoring the effectiveness of the medication may take some time before the right combination works.
Medication can be helpful but only as a last result. Side-effects can be far worse than having ADHD. Consult your physician. In reality, learning strategies and incorporating skills is the most helpful way to work through problems that arise through ADHD.
ADHD actually makes you the opposite. People with ADHD are often more acutely aware of what needs to be done but they lack the ability to remain on task.
The reality is that people with ADHD, as they grow older, find creative ways to adjust and become extremely productive. This ability to adapt and find ways to work through issues is often a complex process and requires a lot of problem solving, trial and error. ADHD just affects the way they do normal functions but most people figure out other ways to do them which makes them highly intelligent.
It is true there is no cure for ADHD however, learning strategies help reduce the symptoms. Reducing the symptoms helps increase the abilities of the individual to improve and function with less problems.
Children and families can benefit from using basic behavior skills. Children with ADHD tend to not be able to focus on tasks at hand, behave inappropriately, and make rash decisions without thinking about consequences. The recommended Parenting Skills for ADHD are Preventive Teaching and Observe and Describe as they help address the difficulties of ADHD. Some parents also find
Use this skill before doing any task or activity. By expressing they will struggle at certain points and anticipating your child’s feelings allows you to address what they need to do when those feelings arise.
Use the skill of Observe and Describe to describe the behavior your seeing without including emotion keeps your child from feeling attacked or threatened and allows your child to make the correlation between their behavior and why that behavior isn’t appropriate.
Use this skill when your child loses concentration for the task at hand. Watch the video for the steps and read the parenting tips below on how to implement it with a child with ADHD.
For more tips and ways to implement both of these skills you can visit the specific pages on this site for each of these skills. It has games, activities and printable materials to help you and your child learn this skill in an effective way.
Our friend, Dr. Kay Trotter, at Behavioral Health University provides this great guide on Parenting A Child with ADHD.
The National Institute of Mental Health provides further insight into ADHD with videos, testimonials, and free brochures.
The Center for Disease Control also has materials on ADHD that are based on specific age ranges. This website also provides some printable materials that are very helpful to parents including:
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