“I was built this way for a reason, so I’m going to use it.” – Simone Biles, Olympic gold medalist with ADHD
There is no existing cure for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, in-home strategies, behavioral and cognitive therapies, medications, and learning centers can help make life with ADHD more manageable. Combining these efforts is always recommended, as just one or the other may not be effective by itself. Each child is different, and treatment methods that work well for some may not work as well for others. As a parent, teacher, family member, or friend, remaining flexible and maintaining awareness of the different options to treat ADHD is imperative to the overall well-being of a child with ADHD.
Parenting and In-Home
Understanding the roles of parents is essential when raising a child with ADHD. Establishing structure and routine is one of the most integral steps to take as a parent. By implementing a sense of regularity and assigning daily tasks, the child is more likely to feel naturally organized, which is a common struggle for someone with ADHD. Parents should also encourage their children with ADHD to participate in regular forms of exercise. Physical activity is a healthy way to release energy, which helps to limit impulsive outbursts and anxiety attacks, which are two typical symptoms of ADHD. Additionally, limiting distractions is paramount, as lack of focus and persistence troubles many children with ADHD. Through engaging endeavors with structure, minimal interruptions, and continual support, daily life with ADHD becomes less stressful.
Behavioral and cognitive therapies are extremely effective methods of treating ADHD. Behavior therapy involves a dedicated group effort among teachers, parents, and children to establish a strategy for responsible conduct. For example, an immediate reward system for good behavior is a common technique to promote positive actions. Other behavioral therapy sessions work to develop a sense of togetherness, which helps the child to understand that they are not alone in overcoming their difficulties. This form of treatment is useful for children of all ages with ADHD.
Cognitive therapy or psychotherapy for ADHD often includes a psychiatrist or psychologist. As cognitive therapy relies on a child’s ability to open up about feelings and emotions, this treatment method is built on the foundation of trust between the child and the therapist. This process explores a child’s manner of conduct and analyzes the effects of different aspects and challenges of ADHD specific to an individual child. As such, cognitive therapy is better suited for children who are old enough to expressly convey and understand such concepts.
ADHD medications are broken down into stimulants and non-stimulants. ADHD stimulant medications are either short or long-acting, and aim to increase the levels of a chemical in the child’s brain known as dopamine. By targeting dopamine, these medications drive an increase in focus and concentration, which allows the child to block out hindering internal or external distractions and improve attention and focus. The alternative non-stimulants are useful to avoid undesired side effects of a stimulant and typically target norepinephrine, which is a different brain chemical linked to attention and memory as well as dopamine. While stimulant medications for ADHD kick in almost immediately, non-stimulant medications often take several weeks to activate and eventually maintain steady levels.
Consult the child’s doctor or ADHD specialist to determine if medication is recommended for the child and to identify the right form and dose. Distinct subtypes of ADHD may call for different types of medications, which need different levels of fine-tuning and tweaking to achieve optimal results.
Schools and Coaching
Attending specialized schools and learning centers with individual and small-group coaching is a proven effective ADHD treatment strategy. An acknowledged institution, such as Hill Learning Center, offers differentiated instruction for specific aspects of learning challenges and difficulties. These schools implement several classroom accommodations as well as the necessary systematic, methodical approaches to improving executive function and development. Highly trained instructors work tirelessly to give children with ADHD appropriate support and encouragement to develop the organization and other skills that they need. In addition, the environment these schools and centers provide facilitates motivation and the realization of the child’s potential.
It’s important to understand that ADHD is a chronic lifelong condition—it continuously affects people through all hours of every day. ADHD is not something that is “fixed.” However, maintaining appropriate expectations, remaining supportive and diligent, and making “good” choices can result in an ADHD-friendly lifestyle that fosters success.
How Hill Learning Center Can Help
We can make a difference. Hill Learning Center is dedicated to transforming students with learning differences and attention challenges into confident, independent learners. Contact us if you’re interested in taking the next step.