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Parenting Tips for Youth with ADHD

ADHD has become a common diagnosis for school-age children.  This article will be the first in a series to clarify the disorder and offer parents some guidance in helping their children who have been diagnosed with ADHD.

There are three different types of ADHD: 1) predominantly inattentive, 2) hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive combined, and 3) predominantly hyperactive.

It is important to note that ADHD originates in the brain chemistry of the pre-frontal cortex and its neurotransmitters. This area of the brain is responsible for regulating and managing the skills necessary for concentration, decision-making, and self-control. Research shows that children (and adults) with ADHD have difficulty with executive functioning skills such as organization, prioritization, focusing, multi-tasking, managing frustration, regulating emotions, utilizing working memory and accessing recall. ADHD does not affect intelligence.

Parents and teachers should assess the different areas that are the most challenging to each child in order to create an effective treatment plan.  Medication has been shown to be highly effective treatment for ADHD. In addition, behavioral treatment strategies, provided by remedial instruction in schools and ADHD coaches have been demonstrated effective for behavioral and learning problems associated with ADHD.

It is important to note that children with attention deficits have many wonderful qualities and special talents that can get lost in the rush to address their disorder. It is critical for parents to identify their child’s “islands of competence.” When properly channeled, their creativity, high energy and zest for living can bring joy and enthusiasm at home and in the classroom.

Joy Epstein, Family Therapist & ADHD Coach

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