Medications for ADHD
Stimulant medications can help increase a child's attention span while controlling hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Studies suggest these drugs work in 70% to 80% of patients, although they have some troubling side effects. Non-stimulant medications are also options for some children.
Counseling for ADHD
Counseling can help a child with ADHD learn to handle frustrations and build self-esteem. It can also provide parents with supportive strategies. A specific type of therapy, called social skills training, can help kids improve at taking turns and sharing. Studies show that long-term treatment with a combination of drugs and behavioral therapy is more effective than medication alone.
Special Education for ADHD
Keep in touch with teachers and school officials to monitor your child's progress. Discuss these measures with your child’s teachers
- Reduce seating distractions. Lessening distractions might be as simple as seating your child near the teacher instead of near the window.
- Use a homework folder for parent-teacher communications. The teacher can include assignments and progress notes, and you can check to make sure all work is completed on time.
- Break down assignments. Keep instructions clear and brief, breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
- Give positive reinforcement. Always be on the lookout for positive behaviors. Ask the teacher to offer praise when your child stays seated, doesn't call out, or waits his or her turn instead of criticizing when he or she doesn't.
- Teach good study skills. Underlining, note taking, and reading out loud can help your child stay focused and retain information.
- Supervise. Check that your child goes and comes from school with the correct books and materials.
- Be sensitive to self-esteem issues. Ask the teacher to provide feedback to your child in private, and avoid asking your child to perform a task in public that might be too difficult.
- Involve the school counselor or psychologist. He or she can help design behavioral programs to address specific problems in the classroom.
Measures outside the school
- Use routines and a clear system of rewards.
- High-protein foods, including eggs, meat, beans, and nuts, may improve concentration.
- Replace simple carbs, like candy and white bread, with complex carbs, like pears and whole-grain bread.
- Some parents believe preservatives and food colorings worsen the symptoms of ADHD, and the American Academy of Pediatrics says it's reasonable to avoid these substances.
- Limit young children's TV exposure to no more than two hours a day.
- Encourage activities like games, blocks, puzzles, and reading to help your child develop attention skills.
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