Supporting Children and Teenagers With ADHD

Recognizing and Understanding ADHD
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders. It must be diagnosed by a medical professional and is often diagnosed in an individual’s early childhood. It can affect their ability to regulate attention and control their impulsive behaviors, though it is typical for children to have difficulties focusing or behaving since it is considered part of their developmental behaviors, they gradually grow out of them by a certain point while children with ADHD often do not. A few key symptoms that are usually observed include

  • A short attention span for their age group.
  • A difficulty in sitting still or following instructions.
  • Being disorganized.
  • Troubles coping with stress.
  • Poor time management skills.

Along with the symptoms, it is important to note the main 3 types of ADHD which are, impulsive/hyperactive–this one is seen to be the least common out of all three in which their behaviors can be labeled as hyperactive or impulsive with a lack of inattention, Inattentive/distractable–this type often consists of behaviors described majorly as being inattentive or distractable but with no hyperactivity in contrast to the impulsive/hyperactive type, lastly the combined type– noted to be the most common includes behaviors that are described as both hyperactive and impulsive while also being inattentive/easily distracted. The symptoms outlined above can all have a severe effect on a child/teenager’s school life, their relationships with their peers, and more. A common misconception about people who have ADHD is that they are just being lazy or lack discipline when in reality, it is not really in their control.

Creating a Helpful Environment

Though it differs from person to person, individuals with ADHD often do well in structured environments. Following a consistent routine can help provide feelings of familiarity as well as regulate their behavior. Breaking big tasks down into more doable ones and setting expectations can also be extremely helpful. The routines, limits, and schedules that are established by the parent/caregiver can aid in making your child more successful as well as more confident; creating a structured environment can also play a role in how they structure their schedules and develop their own organizational skills as they grow.

Self-regulation/regulation methods
Self-regulation methods play a vital role in the life of someone who has ADHD, helping them understand when they may need to take a break and refocus can help them control their own emotions and reduce anxiety. A few techniques that can help include

  • Yoga or meditation.
  • Deep breathing
  • Encouraging them to take breaks when necessary to avoid chances of burnout.
  • Daily exercise.
  • Their own personal hobbies(e.g. drawing, dancing, playing an instrument, etc.)
  • Listening to calming music.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation

One of the key factors is to remain patient and calm yourself, oftentimes children can mirror your own response concerning the situation.

Working Together With Your Child’s Educator to Benefit Them
Working together with your child’s educator is crucial in terms of how supported and successful they are. A few ways in which you could effectively work together with them in a way that would be helpful to both your child and their educator include, identifying and discussing your child’s strengths, struggles, and techniques they use that benefit them in terms of both educational environments and social situations; making an effort to take note of these and discuss them with their educator can help bring up the different academic accommodations they may or may not need.

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