Children with ADHD frequently experience difficulty participating in elements of sustained and focused day-to-day conversation. But adapting your own style of communication to your child’s needs can help him maintain a connection.
Adapting a Style of Communication with Your Child with ADHD Children with ADHD frequently experience difficulty participating in elements of sustained and focused day-to-day conversation. But adapting your own style of communication to your child’s needs can help him maintain a connection. When necessary, pause to get your child’s attention (call his name before giving a command), maintain eye contact, and perhaps have him repeat back or explain what you have told him to be sure he has heard and understands. This approach works well not only when issuing commands but also when beginning any sort of conversation with your child. If he tends to interrupt, help him out by keeping your sentences brief and focusing only on what needs to be said. Avoid interrupting him frequently because he may not be able to stay engaged in this type of interaction. If you sense that his attention is wandering, touch his arm, take his hand, or otherwise make physical contact. Some parents find that conversation flows more smoothly if they are also involved in a physical activity with their child, such as washing dishes or making dinner. Finally, if you are telling your child something that you want him to remember, write it down in simple terms or encourage him to write it down himself. Introducing concepts such as “consequences,” “rewards,” and “positive and negative behavior” into the family vocabulary can go a long way toward clarifying communications. Where you might have previously instructed your child to “Go to your room!” following an unacceptable behavior, you can now inform him that his behavior has led to a “time-out”—and by the time you give this command, he will know the exact rules that apply to this term. Specific behavior therapy language strategies, such as when/then statements (“When you finish your homework, then you can go play baseball.”) may also prove useful when interacting with all of your children and can improve communication and morale in the family as a whole. ADHD and Homework 18/02/2013 03:09 PM Pdf créé avec la version d'essai pdfFactory Pro www.pdffactory.com Our eleven-year-old daughter, who has been diagnosed with inattentive-type ADHD, has been doing better since she began treatment with stimulant medication. However, we still have trouble getting her organized around homework. We have tried setting up an office in her room, taking away all the distractions, keeping the area quiet, and not allowing the television to go on until all her homework is done. We don’t seem to be making much progress and, in fact, we are all getting even more frustrated because nothing seems to work. Her teachers still complain that work is not getting turned in, and her grades are still suffering in spite of her teacher always telling us how bright she is. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the ideal homework setting. Some children with ADHD work inefficiently in an isolated, quiet setting like their room, and do better in the midst of some action, like at the kitchen table with a radio playing. You might need to try a few different settings until you find the most efficient one. In addition, you might need to figure out if any other factors are making homework difficult. Think about all the steps involved. Does your child know what all the assignments are? Does she bring the materials home that are necessary for doing the work? Does she have a nightly work plan that fits with her learning style? (She might need to schedule breaks between math and English, or between outlining the report and writing the first 3 paragraphs.) Does she have a system to check on whether all the nightly work is done? Is there a system for checking that her completed work gets turned in on the due date? How does she or you know that work is late? Have you or her teacher set up rewards for progress or consequences for late work? Is there a system for her teacher to communicate with you about late work? Once you have gone through this type of systematic list of questions, you can begin to solve the problem in an organized way—and you might discover some simple and obvious solutions. If she is taking stimulant medication and she does her homework primarily at a time after it has worn off, you could consider a short-acting extended dose of medication for the early evening. ADHD Basics Update posted June 19, 2008: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new recommendations about the use of heart tests–including an electrocardiogram (ECG)–for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) before starting treatment with stimulant drugs. The AAP currently 18/02/2013 03:09 PM Pdf créé avec la version d'essai pdfFactory Pro www.pdffactory.com recommends that children with ADHD have a thorough patient history , family history, and physical exam before starting treatment with stimulant drugs. The AAP does not recommend that children have an ECG unless the patient history, family's history, or physical examination raises concerns. Parents with questions or concerns about the use of ECGs should consult their child's pediatrician. What do I need to know about ADHD? Almost all children have times when their behavior veers out of control. They may speed about in constant motion, make noise nonstop, refuse to wait their turn, and crash into everything around them. At other times they may drift as if in a daydream, failing to pay attention or finish what they start. However, for some children, these kinds of behaviors are more than an occasional problem. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have behavior problems that are so frequent and severe that they interfere with their ability to live normal lives. The following are some common questions parents have about ADHD. Will my child outgrow ADHD? ADHD continues into adulthood in most cases. However, by developing their strengths, structuring their environments, and using medication when needed, adults with ADHD can lead very productive lives. In some careers, having a high-energy behavior pattern can be an asset. Why do so many children have ADHD? The number of children who are being treated for ADHD has risen. It is not clear whether more children have ADHD or more children are being diagnosed with ADHD. Also, more children with ADHD are being treated for a longer period. ADHD is now one of the most common and most studied conditions of childhood. Because of more awareness and better ways of diagnosing and treating this disorder, more children are being helped. It may also be the case that school performance has become more important because of the higher technical demand of many jobs, and ADHD frequently interferes with school functioning. Are schools putting children on ADHD medication? Teachers are often the first to notice behavior signs of possible ADHD. However, only physicians can prescribe medications to treat ADHD. The diagnosis of ADHD should follow a careful process. Are children getting high on stimulant medications? When taken as directed by a doctor, there is no evidence that children are getting high on stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate and amphetamine. At therapeutic doses, these drugs also do not sedate or tranquilize children and do not increase the risk of addiction. Stimulants are classified as Schedule II drugs by the US Drug Enforcement Administration because there is abuse potential of this class of medication. If your 18/02/2013 03:09 PM Pdf créé avec la version d'essai pdfFactory Pro www.pdffactory.com child is on medication, it is always best to supervise the use of the medication closely. Atomoxetine and guanfacine are not Schedule II drugs because they don’t have abuse potential, even in adults. Are stimulant medications “gateway” drugs leading to illegal drug or alcohol abuse? People with ADHD are naturally impulsive and tend to take risks. But those patients with ADHD who are taking stimulants are not at greater risk and actually may be at a lower risk of using other drugs. Children and teenagers who have ADHD and also have coexisting conditions may be at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, regardless of the medication used. 18/02/2013 03:09 PM Pdf créé avec la version d'essai pdfFactory Pro www.pdffactory.com
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