Sunday, July 31, 2011

Helping Children to Understand their ADHD

When parents take young children to the doctor to find out whether or not they have ADHD, please do not assume that they listen and really understand what the doctor is saying and describing. The doctor often talks to the parents and the child together, which seemingly is a good idea. However, the child is oftentimes unsure of what the doctor is saying, regarding terminology, symptoms, etc. 

The child may be asking himself the following:

Is he talking to me?
Is he talking about me?
What does ADHD mean anyway?
Does that mean that I am weird and strange?

It is imperative that parents become educated about ADHD, so that they can most importantly, understand this disorder themselves. Additionally, they will be able to explain all of the aspects of ADHD to their child and how these aspects affect him.

An 11 year-old child came to see me the other say for the first time. I knew that his mother had told him that he had ADHD, so therefore, I felt that he was somewhat familiar with the term. At first, he told me that he just could not talk about one subject, but instead, had to go from subject to subject, and asked me if I knew why he did so. 

What do you think that I should have told him? Return to my blog tomorrow, and I will tell you what I said to him. What are your thoughts?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Children Understanding their own ADHD

Most children receive the diagnosis of ADHD and no one explains to them the derivation, the presentation and/or whether or not ADHD is a lifelong disorder. Therefore, the children are told that they have this disorder, but walk away with little understanding of how it will impact their lives. Oftentimes, many parents do not have a precise understanding of ADHD either, and may struggle to explain it to their children, which adds to the confusion.

Many of the children with whom I work, say the following to me:

“I have trouble staying on one topic. Do you know why that happens to me? “
They also say, “I have difficulty staying focused while I am doing my homework and end up getting up from my chair and walking around.”

 Finally, they talk to me about, “Why do I interrupt? “I am unable to wait for the other person to stop talking, among other things.” 

In addition, children with ADHD often live with a sense of insecurity, because they do not view their behavior as inappropriate, as others do. They watch others staring at them and becoming quickly annoyed with them and their behavior. They simply do not comprehend why they received that negative reaction.
More uncertainty ensues when the children are placed on medication and seemingly do not understand why they have to take medication, as well as how it will make them feel. 

What should parents and teachers do first? Get on the same page and try to encourage an honest, yet encouraging conversation about ADHD, so that the child feels some sense of hope, instead of despair.

More tomorrow…This should be a very long discussion…tune in!…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

During the Summer, it is easy for both you and your child with ADHD to become much more laid back than usual. It is great to feel relaxed and loosen up your schedule. However, that being said, keep in mind that children with ADHD need a predictable schedule each day.  Within that schedule, it is also advisable that you try to make sure that your child, no matter whether he is five years old or 17 years old, gets something specific done each day.

In that way, even though life is more relaxed during the summer, he will feel as if he got one thing done each day. These accomplishments do not have to be huge in scope, but rather, small in scope, so that he can achieve some real success, a feeling that children with ADHD do not frequently feel.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How do Some Teachers Respond to Children with ADHD?

Children with social skills deficits may behave in a very annoying manner to both their peers and adults. They may talk excessively without realizing that they are doing so or they may
talk so infrequently that people do not even know they are in the room. Their parents seemingly do not like them; their teachers seemingly do not like them; and other children do not like them. I felt so sad hearing one of the mothers describing her child in such negative terms. I guess she was being realistic, but even so.

How do some teachers respond to children with ADHD, especially those children who are hyperactive? Michael had ADHD-combined type. Belinda spoke about the difficulty that Michael had experienced in school, specifically in terms of one of his teachers’ attitudes:

“And it was a battle. He was in her classroom I think, for four

months, because after four months of he’s not getting it, there

was no action from her to do anything. Um, I had him moved

to a different classroom; I went and met with the principal.

There were several incidences that made me very unhappy

throughout the school year. And I told the principal that at this

point, he does not need to be in her classroom. He needs to be

put into a different class, which they did, and he seemed to be

doing better. But we still had the old he doesn’t like to write,

and if something gets tough, you know, the head itches, I need

a drink, I need to go to the bathroom. It was a vicious kind of

cycle. Nobody wanted to take the time to help. Nobody wanted

to help figure it out. Nobody wanted to make a difference. They

all just wanted to be the one to say ‘He’s not getting it. There

is a problem.’”

Mary Ann told me a similar story about her son Billy’s experience

with his gym teacher:

“But also in the classrooms that were somewhat chaotic, [sic] a

loud gymnasium where all sounds are coming in loudly, and it

seems that there is chaos. He’s had trouble finding, finding his

focus when it seems like everyone’s running around crazy. So,

even though the teachers in gym felt like they were in control,

in his perspective, in what he was seeing, which is crazy, so he’s

going to add to it, and run around crazy. So he was having to go

to detention, actually for his behavior in PE. . . . It would be that

he’d mess up on Thursday, and he would have to wait for the

next Wednesday to go to detention. And she even talked about

in-school suspension for his behavior in PE. And that type stuff

was really starting to weigh heavily on me. I’d worry about him

every PE day.”