How to Help Your Child Deal with ADHD
For some kids, sitting still can feel impossible. Their insides quake, their mind races, and when a teacher calls on them in class, they get caught thinking about everything but today's lesson.
What's even worse, it may not even be their fault.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder seen in children. It affects each child differently. For some, it may make it hard to focus or pay attention. For others, the disorder can make behaving at home or school extra tough.
It can be hard to care for a child with ADHD. But, when armed with the right information, you can work together with your child to make the disorder manageable.
Catch the disorder early
One of the best ways to help kids deal with ADHD is to get help right away.
The earlier you know your child has a problem, the sooner you can get help. Treatment can help your child avoid behavioral and learning issues at school and at home.
Most kids with ADHD will show at least 6 symptoms before they turn 6 years old and last at least 6 months:
- Getting distracted easily.
- Forgetting things often.
- Jumping between activities too quickly.
- Having trouble following directions.
- Losing toys or other items too often.
- Fidgeting or squirming a lot.
- Talking nonstop or interrupting people.
- Having trouble controlling emotions.
If your child shows some of these signs, don't wait for things to get worse. Talk to a doctor about your child's issues.
Treatment can help children get better
ADHD is not curable. But, with good treatment, children can lead healthy, normal lives and do well in school.
Your doctor may offer your child one of three basic treatment types:
- Medication: Medicine can help your child focus, learn, and stay calm. Your doctor might try a few different medicines to find one that works best. Some medicines might cause side effects like stomach aches and sleep problems. Keep a close eye on your child when he or she starts a new medicine and talk to the doctor before you stop any medications.
- Therapy: Doctors can talk to your child. They will try to teach them to control their behaviors. This can help them do better at school and at home.
- Medication and therapy together: Your doctor might suggest trying medication along with therapy. For many children, a blend of the two works best.
If your child has ADHD, talk to your doctor about which treatment may work best. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
PerformCare has a network full of dedicated doctors who specialize in helping kids deal with issues like ADHD. If you're a PerformCare member, search our provider directory to find a provider who can help your child.
Offering more help from home
There are ways for you to help your children outside of the doctor's office, too.
- Be supportive. Set clear rules for your child to follow. Try not to punish them every time they break a rule. You may have a hard time staying patient. Remember that it's even harder for them.
- Be understanding. It's hard for children with ADHD to control their behaviors. Instead of becoming upset with your child, offer guidance. Show them how to make positive decisions and changes.
- Talk to your child's teachers. Sometimes, special education services are available for children with ADHD.
Stop ADHD from developing
It's true that experts aren't quite sure why some kids develop ADHD. But, research shows that some factors have a strong link to the disorder.
So, while these tips may not help your child who may already suffer from ADHD, remind new moms and moms-to-be about these risks that may cause ADHD:
- Lead, a poisonous metal that is sometimes found in old paint and plumbing. Tell new moms that they may need to examine their paint and old pipe fixtures for lead.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Remind expecting moms the importance of avoiding these drugs, especially while pregnant.
- Certain brain injuries. Remind new mothers if their child injures his or her head, be sure to seek medical help right away. Brain injuries can lead to life-changing physical and mental challenges.
- Food additives like artificial coloring. These additives can even make hyperactivity worse.
Still have questions?
It never hurts to check in with your child's doctor if you suspect your child may have ADHD. If you need help finding the right doctor for your child, search our provider directory.
Or, you can call PerformCare Member Services for answers to your care questions or for help linking with a Provider.