7 Ways to Help Your Child with ADHD

Helping Your Child Cope with ADHD

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

The other day I wrote about ADHD and it’s recent link to obesity and overweight. It brought up a few questions about how to address some of the typical issues that plague children with ADHD and how to best support children who are coping with the effects of ADHD.

I’m currently getting ready to present to a large group of after-school educators in Orlando, Florida on teaching children commitment, determination and stick-to-itiveness, but I wanted to take a moment to give you at least a few tips on how you can help your child with ADHD:

(1) Advocate for them to get services in school: Your child has a special condition that makes them eligible for special accommodations such as: Sitting closer to the front of the room and the teacher, shortened homework assignments and longer testing times.

(2) Get everyone organized: Many children with ADHD (as well as many people in general!) have trouble when things are not organized and also may have trouble organizing him or herself. Teach your children how to stay organized by providing specific places for the children to put things when not in use and sticking to a schedule as best as you can.

(3) Set and keep home rules: Be sure to set easy-to-follow rules that have clear and consistent consequences. If rules are broken, be sure that the consequence is enforced and appropriate.

(4) Reward positive behavior: It’s easy to focus on the “bad” when children are impulsive and unfocused. This is no time to “let sleeping dogs lie.” Be sure to reward your children for positive behavior with praise and attention. Let them know you appreciate them and their effort.

(5) Don’t “go it” alone: There are many people available to help. Your physician, your school officials, and your after-school activity teachers are on your side. If your child attends a Powerful Words Member School, this can be a very positive and fun way to help your child feel that they are making physical strides while at the same time learning values such as focus, determination, respect, and impulse control in their Powerful Words character lessons. As this month is “determination month” you can help your child set a goal and go after it—a great skill-building and self-esteem building month for children with ADHD as well as ALL children!

(6) Be a Positive Role Model: Show your child with ADHD as well as all your children how to stay organized, stay determined, and try again when things don’t go as planned. They are looking to you to see how you react! If you stay calm and handle things with grace, they are much more apt to follow your lead in time, than if you tend to fly off the handle when plans get changed or fall short.

(7) Don’t Compare: Allow everyone to strive to their personal best. Comparing your child with ADHD to other children, especially those within the family or close friends of the child, will only serve to embarrass and denigrate your child. It will NOT motivate them! Reward the effort your child puts in as well as the small successes he or she achieves. If s/he stays determined and reaches his or her goal, this is cause for celebration NOT time for comparison with others who may have done it better, quicker, or more neatly.

And of course, remember to breathe. Your ability to take each day as it comes and celebrate the good in your life and in your child’s life will go a long, long, way.

Have a Powerful Weekend!

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ADHD Can Increase Obesity & Overweight in Children, Study Says

ADHD and Weight in Children…and other facts about ADHD in kids

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

Given the “war on obesity” and the increasing number of children being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the results of a recent study is a real double whammy. According the July issue of Pediatrics, children with ADHD have a 50% higher risk of being medically overweight if they are not taking medication for their condition. Interestingly, those who were taking their medication were much more likely to be underweight.

The Study:

  • Who was studied? 63,000 children and teens between the ages of 5 and 17 years old. The data came from the 2003-2004 U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health.
  • Where were they studied? Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • By Whom? Molly E. Waring and Kate L. Lapane, researchers from the department of community health.
  • Interesting Fact: 1 in 5 children with ADHD are said to be clinically overweight.
  • Why we need to be careful: On the one side, we need to make sure that one problem does not beget another, such that a problem with focus also connects to a problem with health, but on the other hand, we need to make sure that we don’t make our children “scale” obsessed and give them body image issues on top of everything else! We know from other studies that girls who weigh themselves often are more likely than other girls to engage in unhealthy dieting and go up and down in weight. The girls who are most scale-obsessed, according to a 2006 study out of the University of Minnesota, tend to skip meals, use diet pills, abuse laxatives, smoke, binge, and vomit to lose weight. Help your children stay healthy, but don’t allow them to get crazy about weight.

Arguments against these findings:

(1) Some researchers believe that because the diagnosis of obesity in children and the diagnosis for ADHD are widespread, you can’t say that the overlap is due to a cause-and-effect connection rather than just coincidence.

(2) Some researchers agree that there is a connection and this is nothing new.

(3) Some researchers believe that there is a connection but we don’t know about any cause-and-effect link. In other words, we can’t say that ADHD CAUSES obesity and overweight nor can we say that obesity and overweight CAUSES ADHD.

Facts about ADHD

  • It’s estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD. In the United States, that equals approximately 2 million children.
  • The top characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
  • Symptoms: Fidgeting, squirming, trouble listening, difficulty playing quietly, said to talk a lot and often, often interrupt or intrude impulsively, easily distracted, lack focus, difficulty finishing tasks.
  • Symptoms appear early in the child’s life—but since ALL young children tend to fidget and become impulsive to a degree, it’s important to see a physician for confirmation of diagnosis.
  • Disorders that can sometimes go along with ADHD: Learning disabilities, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, Conduct Disorder, Bipolar Disorder.

Some Possible Treatment Options for ADHD:

(1) Medication

(2) Behavioral Modification

(3) A combination of both Medication and Behavior Modification

(4) Psychotherapy

(5) Social Skills Training

(6) ADHD coach for child

(7) Counseling

(8 ) EEG Biofeedback

(9) ADHD Diet

(10) Alternative Medicine

Have a child or know a child with ADHD? What are your thoughts on the July Pediatrics study? Do you find any challenges with ADHD and the weight of your child? What has worked for you?

Looking forward to hearing from you-

Cartoon above found here