When a child is diagnosed with ADHD or is suspected of having ADHD, being familiar with the chronic condition can make all the difference when seeking how to best help that child. Receiving guidance from experts on the matter can provide the clarity parents are looking to find. Paulette Chaffee, educator and speech therapist, provides her expert insight on everything a parent needs to know about ADHD and how to best help a child who shows signs or is diagnosed with ADHD.
What exactly is ADHD?
ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder. The diagnosis affects 11 percent of school-age children, and most children continue to be affected by its symptoms into adulthood.
The earlier ADHD is identified in a child, the better, as early identification grants access to early treatment, better setting a child with ADHD up for life success. Treatment for ADHD is critical as the diagnosis can have damaging consequences if not adequately treated. Results of untreated ADHD include falling behind or failing in school or a job, depression, relationship issues, accidental injuries, substance abuse, family stress, and delinquency.
What are common signs of ADHD in children?
Three common signs of ADHD are children who are inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. A child with ADHD could have any or all of these signs. However, a parent might overlook these signs of ADHD as all children sometimes experience difficulties with paying attention, sitting still, being patient, or listening and following directions. The difference between a child without ADHD and a child with ADHD is that these struggles are amplified, more strenuous, and frequent for a child with ADHD.
Medical professionals are still unable to pinpoint what causes the brain differences of ADHD. However, breakthrough studies have revealed that ADHD has a strong tie to being inherited; it is typical for a child with ADHD to have another family member or parent with ADHD.
How can parents best help their child with ADHD succeed in school?
As soon as parents can identify that their child has ADHD, they should first seek out the right ADHD treatment for their child. Treatments for ADHD include medication, behavior therapy, and school support. Parents should also seek parent coaching to learn how to respond proactively to ADHD-fueled behavioral problems. After establishing school support, parents can aid in their child’s school success by being involved, working with the child’s school, giving medication at the time and dose recommended, connecting with other families with ADHD children for support, and purposefully parent with affability.
How can parents best help their child with ADHD develop into adulthood?
If a parent and a child both have ADHD, a parent can set a good example for the child as they grow into adulthood by seeking treatment for adult ADHD alongside the child as the child gets treated for ADHD. Adult ADHD treatment can help a parent enhance their parenting skills and decrease additional stress caused by the diagnosis in the family. Whether a parent has ADHD or not, the best way to help a child with ADHD into adulthood is to gain knowledge to understand and provide continuous and steady support as the child learns to function independently as an adult.
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is a teacher, speech therapist, and attorney deeply involved in the Fullerton community. As an educator and member of various non-profit boards, her focus has always been on providing children with the highest quality education. Ms. Chaffee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, a California Lifetime Teaching Credential, and is admitted to the California Bar.