Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD is a range of behaviours that present as being a problem and include being impulsive, not paying attention, restlessness and always on the go. It occurs in boys and girls and is sometimes difficult to get a diagnosis or support. It also occurs in adults; often being missed as a child. Parents experience the stress, chaos, disorganised behaviours as well as having to talk with teachers and doctors about what is happening. This is exhausting, going round in circles and is long winded when trying to get a diagnosis. It takes a while yet important to get the right diagnosis as treatment and support for ADHD is important and needs to be right.
A number of people will be involved in making a diagnosis and once made there are a number of treatment and support options. Medication is important; with younger children it is easier to 'get them to take medication' as the child gets older it becomes more difficult and ups and downs of ADHD family life will occur. Having medication is a choice to make; discuss it.
Family and individual support is important (whether or not you choose medication). Part of the work is to ease some of the stress on the parents, other children and the child with ADHD. There are lots of tools and techniques to help get a bit more organised, support paying attention in school and helping to mange bursts of energy and disruptive behaviour, etc.
Such could include:
- Making sure you as a parent get enough sleep, food, exercise, rest etc.
- Making time for the other children in your family.
- Getting more routine to things like bedtime, mealtimes, school work and play. Play could be the energy zapping kind like kick-a-round, Frisbee throwing, etc.
- More specifically school work could be done in short periods of time with a break. Three lots of 15 minutes is better than one slog of 45 minutes.
- For a real fidgety child a spinner might be a good idea with guidance of when it could be used.
Involve the school as they are part of how your child is supported. It is important for them to realise that ADHD is real and can stop a child learning. They may need extra breaks, permission to use the fidget toy, time and advice from the school's special educational support staff.
A child who is supported will develop the skills to cope with ADHD in adult life. Find ways to manage their behaviours in work, relationships, social life, etc. Occasionally hitting a sticky patch but support is available through groups, GP or private services. Adults diagnosed with ADHD may struggle with NHS services. Private services are available and may be the best option.
Most support is through the NHS, but support groups and private services can help. Private services lack waiting times, able to support for longer, broader range of services and support, so check them out first.
About the author
Simon works supporting children, families and adults with a range of issues. Specialty areas include ADHD, bullying, alcohol, drugs, depression, anxiety, PTSD and eating disorders. Experienced in working with professional, emergency services and MOD. His work includes talking, playing with toys, drawing, and other activities that help support.
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