Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Treatment in Chicago, IL
All children appear hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive at times; however, compared to other children of a similar developmental age, these symptoms are more frequent and severe in children with ADHD negatively impacting academic progress, self-esteem, social interactions, and parent/child relationships. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ADHD affects approximately 3-5% of school-age children.
Signs of ADHD
ADHD symptoms often vary in different children and across different settings. These symptoms must occur early in a child’s life, before age seven, and negatively impact functioning in multiple areas. Look for…
- Short attention span
- Easily distracted
- Fidgety or restless
- Difficulty listening or following directions
- Inability to remain still / always “on the go”
- Poor impulse control
- Makes careless mistakes
- Poor organizational skills
- Talks excessively, often interrupting
Treatment Options for ADHD
Children with ADHD want to do well in school and in social interactions; however, their symptoms interfere with their efforts. With appropriate treatment, children with ADHD can learn to manage their symptoms and live successfully.
- Comprehensive evaluation to ensure accurate diagnosis of different illnesses often present with similar symptoms
- Individual therapy to help the child manage the symptoms and cope with negative academic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal consequences
- Parent training to create an environment tailored to these children’s unique challenges
- Medication to decrease symptoms
- School interventions set forth under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and Section 504 to implement classroom-based accommodations to diminish symptoms hindering academic progress
Strategies for Parenting Children with ADHD
- Establish a structured environment, trying to follow the same routine daily, to allow for predictability and consistency.
- Post detailed lists of responsibilities from household chores to brushing teeth to enhance organizational skills.
- Utilize several learning modalities inclusive of verbal, written, and pictures to aid memory.
- Use concise and specific directions, breaking down tasks into simple step by step instructions.
- Ask your child to repeat instructions to ensure understanding and focus.
- Establish a calm and peaceful environment diminishing distractions such as television or radio, especially during homework times.
- Allow your child frequent breaks.
- Organize, establishing a place for everything to increase organization and decrease careless mistakes.
- Establish clear, consistent, and reasonable consequences for negative behaviors, even utilizing a behavior chart.
- Provide positive reinforcement, focusing on encouraging effort and small positive steps.
- Involve your child in establishing routines, activities, and rules, allowing them a sense of responsibility and control of their environment.
- Allow your child independence while supervising in all necessary areas. Children with ADHD often lack self-control. You can be their external control to guide and teach them.
- Involve your child in activities with peers to enhance social skills, encouraging interaction with one or two peers at a time if your child is easily stimulated.
- Recognize your child’s strengths and utilize them for growth
- Advocate for your child to receive appropriate school and mental health services.