— Podcast

#25: ADHD treatment options

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There are multiple ADHD treatment options. Understanding what they are and why they are being recommended is helpful as treatment courses are set.

When ADHD treatment options are present, it can be easy to dismiss individual options. We strongly advocate that you keep an open mind to any recommended treatment options. Treatment for ADHD could include medication, therapy, and ADHD behavior intervention, such as learning behavior or social skills.

Because every child is unique and responds to medication differently, we are not here to give medical advice. We are here to walk you through therapy and ADHD behavior interventions that help kids with ADHD.

Helping kids with ADHD may involve therapy. For many parents, therapy may seem scary or unfamiliar, or a label they don’t want for their child as therapy has gotten an undeserved bad rap. Treating ADHD should be a whole-body process, including taking care of our mental health. Therapy allows a child to discuss how ADHD affects them, what their environment is like, and thoughts and feelings. They learn how they respond to certain stimuli and what they can do to work through things healthily.

Social or behavioral skills is another route that a doctor may recommend. Behavioral or social skills are skills that are implemented in the home and is a team effort between parents, caretakers, and the child. The skills we teach on Smarter Parenting are social and behavioral skills and are most effective when everybody is on the same page in their use.

If you are using behavior skills and aren’t seeing the change you expect, it’s probably because a component needs to be modified. An ADHD Parenting Coach can help you find clarity in what needs to be modified. An ADHD Parenting Coach can take a look at the big picture and help you see areas that need improvement while giving you confidence in your abilities.

ADHD Parenting Coaching can be transforming and help you create the family you want. Sign-up for an individualized ADHD Parenting Coaching session today!

When deciding treatment for your ADHD child, it’s vital to keep an open mind when it comes to all ADHD treatment options. The goal of your doctors is to help your child be healthy and happy.

Episode Transcript

This is episode 25. Let’s get started.

Smarter Parenting welcomes you to our podcast series, The Parenting Coach for ADHD. Here to heal and elevate lives is your parenting coach, Siope Kinikini.

Hello my friends. I hope everybody’s doing well today. Today we’re going to be talking about treatment options for ADHD. And so this actually is a great topic to bring up to parents who are trying to figure out exactly what approach should I be taking. Now, I have to apologize for my voice because I don’t know what happened to it. It’s kind of low, and I’m not exactly sure why it’s this low. But I have been struggling with this weird cough for a while, and so I’m just getting over it. But I kind of like this, it’s kind of like a Barry White voice, right? It’s like, hello. Probably a great radio voice, but it’s not my usual voice. I actually speak a little bit higher than this normally. So anyways, bear with me, if you will, as we accept our imperfections, all our imperfections.

Now, before I begin, I want to set my intention for this discussion anyways. And what I want to set my intention to is that I want to be able to convey to you why some of the options that are available to parents are important to consider, specifically because a lot of parents will receive information from a professional and they’ll think, “Well, that absolutely will not work. That approach is just ridiculous and I don’t want to do that.” So my intention is to help explain why some of these approaches from mental health professionals will be beneficial and can be beneficial to you and your child.

The first thing I do want to be able to discuss with you is this idea that we learn to be a little more open minded to some of these approaches. Now, I am not talking about some kind of crazy, weird, way out there program or anything like that. These are things that have been founded in science to be helpful, especially with mental health and dealing with ADHD. We are not going to be talking about medication here, because medication is something that you should be consulting with your medical professional about. And specifically, because every child is unique and different and their makeup is different, the way they respond to medications is different. Covering something like that is is really out of the realm of what we do here at Smarter Parenting.

So I’m going to share with you an example of something that happened to me. I’ve been working lately with a family who have a child with ADHD, and we are doing home visits. So I actually go into the home and I work with them there. Now, that is my background. I did that for around 10 years, where I went into homes and I helped families with children who struggled with issues to help build the home. The work that I did there was fascinating, because usually, the families that were referred to me were on the list from DCFS, the Department of Child and Family Services. And without an intervention, they were looking at removing the child from the home because of instability or what have you. My work with those types of families, super high intensity, providing them feedback. My presence in the home was actually for a couple of hours a week. Usually around eight to 10 hours for the first three or four weeks, and then it started to taper off near the end. And I’d work with a family roughly between six to 10 weeks in implementing change. Super high intensity, super hard. These families had multiple issues going on, ADHD. That’s my background as far as working with families. Did that for 10 years and it was fantastic.

I’ve actually jumped back into that and working with families with ADHD issues. So I’m working with a family right now where I made some suggestions on things that we should try. And the family, and I’m sharing this because they’ve given me permission, the family initially was like, “That’s not going to work.” And I asked them, “Okay, so what is the hesitation? Why are we having this struggle with this suggestion?” And the for them, they had played out in their mind that they’ve tried some of these interventions and they didn’t work. They just were unsuccessful to see the change that they want. And so we had to talk a little bit about the science behind the recommendations that I gave them.

So there are a couple of things that a mental health professional may recommend that you, as a parent, work on with your child. Some of those are behavioral, mostly behavioral issues. They may recommend that your child do some therapy, so psychotherapy. Talk about ADHD and how it’s affecting them or their family around them. And through that therapeutic intervention, your child can learn some additional things about how they respond to stimuli and work through those things.

Now, psychotherapy or therapy is a recommendation, and some parents are like, “Yeah, no, doesn’t need that, we want to focus on the hard line behavioral issues that my child is struggling with.” So behavioral therapy is one of those things. And that is teaching your child about the behavior that they are exhibiting and strategies to work around them. It’s closely related to social skills training, but behavioral therapy is something a teacher would do and implement into the home. Now, I did recommend some behavioral therapy where we implement some behavioral changes in the home. And one of the responses from one of the parents was, “Well, we feel like our child should conform to what it is that we’re doing here in the home.” And I did not actually argue with her. I agree with that, because I think parents do need to set the structure in the home. Now, how they follow through with the structure that they’ve implemented in the home, that’s a different story. And that can be very different in getting the result that you want and the result that you do not want.

We talked a lot about behavioral therapy and what it is and how we could work through that. So they agreed, and we’ve been implementing some of those things. So it’s developing strategies for how your child behaves in response to certain situations. So if the child is having some issues, for example, Following Instructions, what are the strategies you are going to implement? Or what are the strategies your child is going to implement to comply with what it is that you want them to do? So we put that in place.

The next thing we put in place was social skills training. Which can sometimes be useful if a child shows serious issues dealing with social environments. So it’s like behavioral therapy. The goal of social skills training, though, is to help them with the social aspect, and what is appropriate in the environment that they’re in. So for example, for ADHD, children could be waiting their turn in conversations. It could be learning how to share toys appropriately. It could be asking for help. It could be dealing with a sibling who’s making fun of them or teasing them. How do they respond to those things? Those are social interactions that you can help teach your child how they should be responding to those.

I also recommended to this family that they reach out to other families who are dealing with the same issues as a support and as a communication. A lot of times, parents who have children with ADHD, or even children with other issues, feel isolated. And specifically, when the child requires a lot of attention and a lot of monitoring, a parent can feel completely isolated from the world, and that isolation actually is a dangerous place to be. And I say that it’s dangerous because in the isolation, you start to form this idea that you’re dealing with things on your own and that there is no support out there. The reality is, is there are other parents who are dealing with the exact same thing you’re dealing with, and reaching out and creating a network of support can be very, very helpful for you. There’s nothing like sitting down and talking to somebody that you know understands exactly where you’ve been and what you’ve been through. We seek those people out. So finding a support group would be very, very helpful and beneficial. And if you’re trying to find one, you can find a million on Facebook. Now, it’s not the same as actually connecting with somebody, but you may be able to find somebody in your general vicinity or your location by connecting through Facebook.

Now, one thing I do recommend for all parents, and that’s parent training. And that’s helping parents learn the skills that they need in order to implement change in their home. With the family that I’m working with, we are working on rewards and consequences that are immediate. Now, you can jump over to the Smarter Parenting website, we have a skills lesson on that. And of course, everything on the website is free for you, so why wouldn’t you jump over there to get some resources? Anyways, with implementing rewards and consequences that are immediate, that helps connect the behavior of the child with the consequence. So whether or not it’s good or bad.

Now, remember with children who struggle with ADHD, having a consequence, if you have it too far away from the behavior, there is no connection to why they should change that behavior. So if a child is arguing with their sibling and you say, “I’m going to give you a consequence,” but then you wait until later that day, you say, “Well, because you did this back then.” It’s less effective than if you say, “Okay, you’re arguing with your sibling now. Here’s the consequence here, you’re going to receive it right now.” That way it’s connected and they’re like, “Okay, I do this, it’s connected to this.” And with ADHD children, children who struggle with this, connecting those dots is essential to making a shift in the behavior that they have.

So that’s what we’re working on with this family, is immediacy on their reaction to the behaviors, rather than waiting until they’re upset or angry or whatever. That does require them to spend time doing that and putting off some other things. However, in the long run, the more consistent you are at putting that much time in the beginning, it will save you time in the long run, because then you’re not dealing with the same issues over and over and over again. That’s part of parent skills training. We’ve also been working on timeouts, on family time, how they’re spending time together. Those are all things that we are working on, and this is all part of the parents skills training aspect of it.

One thing I do with all the parents that I work with is managing their own stress levels, and that’s learning where their tolerance level is and where the breaking point is. And so that also is part of the parent skills training, is helping them learn where their breaking point is and not getting to that breaking point. It’s actually addressing it beforehand so they never get to that point. There’s nothing less resourceful than a parent who has reached the breaking point and is just out of control. This includes parents who give out consequences that are kind of outrageous. You’re grounded for 10 years, you’re never going to leave your room, things like that. Those are impossible to enforce. And yet, I still see parents do that. So we focus a whole section on what an appropriate consequence looks like and how that works. And again, that falls under the umbrella of parent skills training.

Now, if you are working with a professional who makes recommendations for these things like therapy, psychotherapy, one thing that I would definitely ask is, what is the treatment plan and how long is it going to be for the psychotherapy? What are you going to address? What is happening every week? If your child is a minor, you have access to that information. And it’s important for you to allow the therapist to work in their sphere of confidentiality. But at the same time, you want to be able to measure out the results that are happening during that time to match what parenting skills training you are actually implementing in the home. And it really should be a collaboration between the therapists. Whenever I’m working with a family and the child is in therapy with a different therapist or working with somebody else, I always collaborate. Always collaborate. Because if the child and the parent, if they’re receiving mixed messages, then anything that we do will be undone by the other person. So collaboration is essential.

Now, if you have a professional that is unwilling to collaborate, then it really is time to look for a different professional. Sounds harsh, but I am telling you, you need to find people who are working as a team for your family, rather than working in individual silos trying to help your family. The team approach is the most effective way. Because if they know you are working on this, they could be working on this as well, and bringing those together will be even more powerful.

So my intention at the beginning was to give you a reason why it’s important for you to follow the recommendations from your mental health professional. Even if you feel like, I don’t know if this is going to work, ask questions. You need to ask questions about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. And you also need to be open to this. Now, if you’ve tried some of these techniques and they haven’t worked for you, you have to ask yourself a few questions. The first one is, how consistent were you in being able to follow through with this? And then longevity, how long have you been able to be consistent in following through with this? Those tend to be the two things that parents either give up too soon or they haven’t done it long enough to see the results that they need to see. With ADHD children, it will take a little bit longer for you to implement these changes and for the changes to stick.

So be consistent and just move forward with the plan that you establish with your mental health professional. Or even just with your spouse, if you decide to sit down and work through this with your spouse or with another caregiver or your partner, whoever it may be, whoever is involved with the child’s life. You can even do this with teachers who are at school and say, “Okay, this is what we’re working on at home. We want you to support what it is that we’re doing, so we just want to make you aware of what’s happening. And if you can do that whenever you interact with the child, that’d be helpful.” Very, very easy to do, to talk to somebody else about that.

So those are some of the recommendations that you may receive from the mental health professional in working with your child. And if you receive these, really accept it and work with it and see if you can find a way to make it work. And if you feel like, I’ve done this and it doesn’t work, it’s time to recalibrate and readjust and ask questions and figure out why these interventions may be beneficial to you. But then go back and do them. Because these have been the things that have been most consistent as far as seeing change with families over a long period of time. These things do work. It just depends on the implementation and how well you’re do it.

So that’s it for me. If you want some additional help specifically with your child who has ADHD, feel free to sign up for our coaching. Coaching at Smarter Parenting is a new thing that we’re doing, and it’s the part that I’m more excited about than anything, because it helps me connect with people who are dealing with issues, and we can address these things very specifically. So jump over to the coaching page and let us coach you, let us help you, let us make the transformation happen for you. Let’s work together so we can do this. Sign up for coaching. That’s it for me, and I will see you again next week. All right. Bye.

Podcast Transcript

The transcript text is below. You can also download the PDF file of the transcript here.