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What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD symptoms are organised into three groups:

Inattention
  • Making careless mistakes on schoolwork, homework, or other things your child does;
  • Difficulty sustaining their attention on tasks or games;
  • Trouble listening and easily distracted;
  • Finding it challenging to follow through on instructions or complete set tasks;
  • Difficulty organising themselves for outings or activities;
  • Losing things they need such as school books, pencils, toys, etc.
Hyperactivity
  • Fidgety;
  • Constantly being on the go;
  • Difficulty playing quietly;
  • Often talks a lot
Impulsivity
  • Answers a question before the person has finished asking it;
  • Difficulty waiting their turn;
  • Often butts into conversations too much

If your child shows these symptoms, it may be time to seek professional advice regarding an assessment and consider therapy options.

Therapy 

Regarding helping Parents, I teach the 123 Magic Program, a practical discipline system for all children in the household. Please see my page, ‘Parent Strategies that Work,’ for more information. During sessions with Parents:

  • We also address any questions they may have;
  • Work through teething problems associated with using the 123 Magic program;
  • Address the importance of patience and routine;
  • Look at parenting with acceptance and emotional validation

With regards to helping the Child with ADHD, we work on areas such as:

  • Emotional Regulation;
  • Relaxation;
  • Grounding;
  • Anger Management;
  • Learning to request help;
  • Conflict Resolution;
  • Social Skills;
  • Self-Esteem;
  • Tips for coping in the classroom (e.g., organisation skills, sitting in the front of the class, etc.).
  • Time is spent with parents to provide feedback on the sessions so strategies can be reinforced at home or passed on to teachers at school.

We may also set aside some time for joint sessions to work on the relationship between parent and child.

Is Medication Necessary?

This is a tricky subject, often with mixed opinions. Considering medication for your child at such a young age is a difficult decision as a parent. Firstly, it may be helpful to exhaust all other aspects of treatment for your child before considering medication.

These include:
  • Understanding and implementing a consistent discipline program to gain stability and routine in the household and manage challenging behaviour (please see my page on Parenting Strategies that work);
  • Implementing healthier eating habits for your child with ADHD (e.g., fewer preservatives, colourings, additives, etc.) and speaking with a health professional can help to achieve this;
  • Lastly, individual therapy sessions for your child to learn coping strategies may be beneficial (addressed in the treatment section above).

If your child’s behaviour is still impacting their functioning at school, with friends, and at home after implementing the above strategies, it may be time to consider medication with a Paediatrician or Child Psychiatrist. Perhaps discussing a trial on the medication to see how their behaviour progresses could be beneficial. As the parent, you are in control of your child’s wellbeing; if you are not happy with the progress or the way your child may be responding to the medication, then address this with your consulting doctor as soon as possible. You are your child’s voice.

For more information or to get started with therapy, please book an initial appointment with Leia.

References
 Mash, E. J., & Barkley, R. J. (2003). Child Psychopathology. 2nd Edition. New York: Guilford Press.
 Taylor, J. F. (2006). The Survival Guide for kids with ADD or ADHD. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing.

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