When A Child Is Diagnosed With Adhd

Here's what to do if one of your children is diagnosed with ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a very prevalent problem among children in today's society. ADHD is more easily diagnosed than in decades past, but typically many parents of children with ADHD were probably ADHD themselves. If your child has just been diagnosed with ADHD, how to you handle his or her behavior?

First, you need to understand that you are not alone. Often, one of the major deterrents to successfully handling a child with ADHD is simply a feeling of incompetence. You may feel discouraged, frustrated, and unable to adequately handle your child's problems. However, because ADHD has become so prevalent, more and more studies are conducted concerning the management of children with this diagnosis. Educators are given training, so that these children can succeed in the classroom, and there are plenty of advocates available for the fair treatment of children with ADHD. There are community support groups and online forums completely dedicated to the parents of children with ADHD. Counseling is also an option.

In order to handle your child's behavior problems, you need to learn how to manage his ADHD. Once you have established a pattern of expectation between yourself and your child, you should be able to see a difference in your child's behavior. You should also be able to communicate these behavior plans with your child's teacher. You can request that a 504 plan be setup to encompass every aspect of your child's education. The school counselor, administrators, and your child's teachers will all be involved in implementing the plan, so that your child has the best opportunity to succeed both socially and academically in a school environment. You have the right to ask for a 504 plan, and it will probably be in your child's best interest to do so.

Once you and your child's educators are on the same page regarding his treatment and management, you should see an improvement in your child's behavior and/or academic work. Obviously, some children are more severely affected by ADHD, and these children may also need medication. This is where your doctor also becomes an important part of your child's advocacy and management team. If your child is placed on medication, the school counselor, administrator, and school nurse should know exactly what he is taking. If he must take it during the day, the administrator, counselor, or nurse will keep the medicine with him or her. He or she will be responsible for administering the medicine to your child. Your child should never keep the medicine himself, however.

Managing your child's behavior means that you understand his limitations. You must give him specific instructions if you want him to complete a task. You should also limit that task to one or two items at a time. Once he has finished a task or two, you can then give him another one. Help your child stay organized by reviewing his assignments with him daily, preferably using a visual organizer. When you are giving specific directions and instructions, you will need to talk to your child in a face to face manner. Speak clearly and simply, and if he loses his attention, be sure to draw it back to you.

Try not to get into confrontation situations in which your child feels backed against a wall. Instead, give her some options that she can choose from. Pay close attention to your own expectations. Are they too extreme for your child's capabilities? Can she actually accomplish what you have set for her to do? Will she become frustrated? Try not to react to poor behavior. Instead, find ways to use positive reinforcement. When you see appropriate behavior, praise your child effusively. Look for opportunities in which your child can excel in various areas. Give her plenty of opportunity to succeed, even in small steps. You can also use a reward system for particularly difficult areas. The rewards can be very small. The important thing is to recognize your child's successes.

Finally, recognize that your child's hyperactivity and attention problems will make it difficult for him to stay on task for long periods of time. Instead, plan for short, frequent breaks. You may also need to repeatedly state simple rules that your child is having difficulty adhering to. You may be surprised to learn that your child wants to please you, he just needs help in doing so. With patience, understanding, and cooperation between you, your child's educators, and his doctor, your child can grow into a successful adult. If you do feel that you need additional support, however, you may want to set up counseling sessions for you, your child, and even your entire family.

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