Sunday, September 4, 2011

I am the Mother of an ADHD Child

Okay, I am the mother of an ADHD child. Luckily, she is mild ADHD. She has some impulsivity problems and some attention difficulties, but she has found lots of ways to compensate.

She is a wonderful child. She is empathetic and very compasionate. But she just can't seem to make friends. She has been to several schools and daycares, but never comes away with a friend. I feel so bad for her, but I am at a loss as to what to do for her.

Poor thing was diagnosed with ADHD about 1 1/2 ago, about the middle of third grade. She was an A/B Honor Roll student, but couldn't seem to control herself in the classroom. There were parents that would call and request that their child be moved away from Alyssa due to the noises and distractions that she created throughout the day.

We started out trying her on Vitamin E/Fish Oil. I did that until the end of Third Grade with no visable results.

So, reluctantly, I agreed to try medication. We tried the nonstimulants, Strattera and then Intuniv. Unfortunately, looking at the big picture, they didn't do much good. They calmed her down a bit, but her grades dropped and she still came away from 4th grade with no friends. Not to mention, she became moody, sullen, and depressive. So, I did the only logical thing (that I can think of) I took her off the medication.

Just the other day, I took Alyssa for her physical with her pediatrician. In talking to Dr. J, she became concerned with Alyssa potentially having a Audiological Comprehension Problem or Reading Fluency Problem (more info on these coming soon). Now, I am waiting for a call from Brenners Childrens Hospital for an appointment.

But, what about the ADHD. Is there anything else that I can be doing to help her with the ADHD?

Let's see what my research comes up with...

Children with ADHD generally have deficits in the ability to think and plan ahead, organize, control impulses, and complete tasks. This means their parents need to take over as the executive, providing extra guidance while your child gradually acquires these skills.

Living in a home that provides both love and structure is the best thing for a child or teenager who is learning to manage ADHD.

Tip 1: Stay positive and healthy yourself
As a parent, you set the stage for your child’s emotional and physical health.  You have control over many of the factors that can positively influence the symptoms of your child’s disorder.
Your best assets for helping your child meet the challenges of ADHD are your positive attitude and common sense. Trust that your child can learn, change, mature, and succeed.

Tip 2: Pets can help kids with ADHD (and their parents)
You may be reluctant to add a pet to your chaotic life. But pets can help teach your kid responsibility and get him or her outside. They can also inject some much-needed fun and help the whole family blow off steam. In fact, studies show that pets can protect you from depression, stress, and even medical problems.

Tip 3: Follow a routine.
It is important to set a time and a place for everything to help your child understand and meet expectations. Establish simple and predictable rituals for meals, homework, play, and bed.

Tip 4: Create a quiet and organized place. 
Make sure your child has a quiet, private space of his or her own to concentrate on things like homework. Set up your home in an organized way.  Make sure your child knows that everything has its place.

Tip 5: Set clear expectations and rules
Children with ADHD need consistent rules that they can understand and follow. Make the rules of behavior for the family simple and clear. Write down the rules and hang them up in a place where your child can easily read them. It's important to explain what will happen when the rules are obeyed and when they are broken. And stick to your system: follow through each and every time with a reward or a consequence.

Tip 6: Don’t forget praise and positive reinforcement
As you establish consistent structures, keep in mind that children with ADHD often receive criticism. Be on the lookout for good behavior—and praise it. Praise is especially important for children who have ADHD because they typically get so little of it. These children receive correction, remediation, and complaints about their behavior—but little positive reinforcement. A smile, positive comment, or other reward from you can improve the attention, concentration and impulse control of your child with ADHD. Do your best to focus on giving positive praise for appropriate behavior and task completion, while giving as few negative responses as possible to inappropriate behavior or poor task performance. Reward your child for small achievements that you might take for granted in another child.

Tip 7: Eliminate caffeine from your child’s diet.
Tip 8: Foster good sleep habits.
Find quieter activities such as coloring, reading or playing quietly for your child to do/perform for an hour before bed. Spend ten minutes cuddling with your child. Use lavender or other aromas in your child's room. The scent may help to calm your child. 

Tip 9: Promote“green time”.
Research shows that children with ADHD benefit from spending time in nature. Kids experience a greater reduction of symptoms of ADHD when they play in a park full of grass and trees than on a concrete playground.

Tip 10: Help your child eat right
Diet is not a cause of attention deficit disorder, but food does affect your mental state and thus, your behavior. All children benefit from fresh foods, regular meal times, and staying away from junk food. Eating small meals more often may help your child’s ADHD

Tip 11: Teach your child how to make friends
 Children with ADHD may struggle with reading social cues, talk too much, interrupt frequently, or come off as aggressive or “too intense.” Their relative emotional immaturity can make them stand out among children their own age, and make them targets for teasing. Role-play various social scenarios with your child. Make time and space for your child to play, and reward good play behaviors often. 

To my credit, I do a lot of these things, especially as I have come to realize that yes, my child does have ADHD. I have come to accept that she has some limitations. I have always been a parent to push my child for success, but I think over the last year, I have learned that there are some areas in which Alyssa will develop in her own time. She is who she is and she is loved by God and loved by me.

Watch for more specific challenges as time goes on.

No comments:

Post a Comment