Did You Know ADD/ADHD Has been Around For About One Hundred Years? That’s right!! Attention Deficit Disorder has been described in medical literature for about one hundred years, when a well-noted Pediatrician, George Still M.D., described a group of children who were hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive. Fast forward to 2006, and currently ADD/ADHD affects approximately 7 percent of the population.
Since the new school year has begun across the country, I felt this article could be timely, and help you or someone you know or care about to consider all your options. I recently saw a study that stated that approximately 2 million prescriptions were written for children of all ages last month alone for ADD/ADHD. That is alot of prescriptions for any condition, which tells me that the awareness for ADD/ADHD is at an all-time high.So as a take home message this week, just remember that a diagnosis from a qualified professional of ADD/ADHD in your child is not a crisis (although I realize it can be challenging for the whole family in certain situations). Many of America’s brightest and most successful adults admit to having some form of Attention Deficit disorder as a child, and learned how to turn symptoms that are perceived to be lemons, into “Lemonade.”
ADD/ADHD: Back to School Tips
No matter where you live in the United States, school is back in full force by now. We wanted to take this time to talk to you about some ways of working with a child that has ADD/ADHD this school year. The number one fact to keep in mind is that any change, sudden or otherwise, is going to affect that child. So be very cautious when deciding to make a change in the normal routine. Evaluate the change and be sure it is the best decision for the child. Also, be very aware of who their teachers are and what events, tests, etc. are going on at school. This is important because these changes may also cause a disruption for your child. School holidays, socials and sports tryouts may also cause added stress on your child.
It is true that many of these things can cause stress to any child, but it is important to note that the stress induced on a child with ADD/ADHD is greater. Let’s imagine that your child was adjusted to their teacher and was keeping up in class. Then the teacher goes on a maternity leave and now your child has to adjust to another teacher for the next few months that has a totally different teaching style. Your child could fall behind while trying to adjust to the new teaching style, which could affect them for the remaining school year. Another scenario could be that a standardized test is coming up and the pace of the class has increased in order to prepare for the exam. Your child could get left behind and overwhelmed with the stress of keeping up, and maybe even give up all together.
As a parent or guardian of a child with ADD/ADHD it is more than a full time job. You really have to dig in there and be your child’s biggest advocate. For example, it may not be the best idea for your child to be in a classroom where another teacher may have to fill in for two months. Nor will it be easy to convince the school to make the change without hurting someone’s feelings, but it may be the best for your child. Also, it may be a good idea to get the study guide for a standardized test ahead of time from the teacher and begin to have brief study times before the class even starts to prepare, that way your child will be more comfortable and prepared for the faster paced environment.
In a recent article by Healthwise, “Behavior therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),” they give several helpful tips for all aged children. And as you read through each and every one of these tips you see some very distinct commonalities. The overall ideas in their tips are these:
- Know your child’s routines and create for them a structured environment supporting their educational efforts, need for playtime and family chore time.
- Reward positive behavior.
- Be consistent and set clear instructions for tasks.
- Be a good role model, including such behavioral traits as patience, calmness and good listening skills.