Care for Children With ADHD
by Andrea Lott
A child with ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, has trouble paying attention and may behave impulsively and have trouble in school. Proper care for children with ADHD includes medical care, counseling and daily routine adjustments. Having a child with ADHD takes flexibility and patience, but proper care usually results in the child growing into a healthy and successful life.
If your child is having trouble in school, despite counseling, family and classroom interventions and support, your doctor may prescribe medications to take on a daily basis. Doctors prescribe both stimulant and non-stimulant medications for ADHD. Stimulant medications carry side effects that may cause your child to have trouble sleeping or lose weight. Many pediatricians perform tests on a child's heart before prescribing stimulant medication because of the possible stress those drugs can put on the heart. You can administer stimulant medication orally, or through a wearable patch, depending on what type of medication is right for your child.
Your doctor may prescribe non-stimulant medication if your child experiences too many troubling side effects from stimulant medication, or if she is not getting effective relief from her ADHD symptoms with stimulant medication. Rarely, non-stimulant medication can cause liver problems or suicidal thoughts. Monitor your child carefully for signs of side effects from non-stimulant medication.
Keep children with ADHD on a consistent daily schedule. Sudden changes often cause distress and aggravate symptoms in children with ADHD. Display a calendar marked with activities so the child knows what to expect. Put your child with ADHD to bed at a regular bedtime every night and make sure he gets plenty of rest. Overtired children with ADHD may have more emotional and behavior problems.
Set your child with ADHD up for success. Help him get more organized and plan extracurricular activities to boost his self-esteem such as art or sports. Avoid putting your child in difficult situations, like sitting through a long lecture, whenever possible. Be very clear when outlining instructions or expectations. Do not speak in metaphors, but tell him very concretely what you want and when.
Make sure your child's teachers and administrators know about his ADHD. Work together as a team to manage your child's needs in the classroom. Express your concerns and ask for accommodations as necessary. Your child may qualify for the help of a classroom aid or computer to help with schoolwork or tests. Help your child's teacher set boundaries, but remain patient and flexible.