Huntington Connects


Connecting you to the latest news, tips and academic resources

Clean Your Room! 8 Steps to Help Your Child Get and Stay Organized

Clean your room! This single sentence is all but guaranteed to trigger a cascade of arguments in any family with an ADHD child. Kids with ADHD struggle with organization, and their apparent resistance to keeping their room clean causes tremendous stress and frustration for parents and kids alike. It's typical for a parent to send a child with ADHD off to clean his or her room only to check on him or her an hour later and find that nothing has been done. Or to have their child proudly announce that he or she has finished cleaning when in fact he or she has only picked up a handful of items off of the floor. Does he or she not see the mess? Does he or she not care that his or her parents are becoming frustrated and threatening to take away privileges if he or she doesn't clean up? Many parents start to wonder if the frustration and hassle is worth it. Maybe they should just pick their battles and let their child's room stay messy?

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Helping Your Child Get Rid of Stuff!

Opening presents over the holidays was fun and exciting, but now just a few short weeks later those presents have probably just been added to the mound of "stuff" that is cluttering your child's space and your home. For kids with ADHD, this extra stuff can make it much harder to stay organized, keep track of their things, and find what they need when they need it. As disorganization increases, so does frustration over lost and misplaced items, arguments over messy rooms, and difficulty focusing on important tasks like getting ready in the morning and getting homework done. For kids with ADHD, tackling clutter and staying organized is especially challenging, and most of the time it's not something they can manage on their own. They need extra help from parents to create and stick with an organization plan that works. The first step involves helping your child whittle down the amount of stuff that he or she has have until he or she is left only with the things that that he or she really needs or enjoys and uses regularly.

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Using Negative Consequences Effectively

Every parent needs to give their child negative consequences or punishment sometimes. The trick, as I discussed last week, is to use negative consequences sparingly and use positive strategies, like coaching, modeling, praise, and rewards, as often as possible to teach and reinforce good behavior. When you do need to use negative consequences, like taking away a privilege or favorite game or toy, there are a number of things you can do to make it more likely that these consequences will be effective, and your relationship with your child will remain positive.

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Using Negative Consequences with Your ADHD Child

Kids with ADHD often struggle to follow through on the things that are expected of them, make impulsive choices, and have a hard staying calm in stressful situations. This understandably leads many parents to feel like they are constantly correcting and reprimanding their child – not because they want to, but because they don’t know what else to do. Using positive strategies like giving attention, praise, and rewards for good behavior can go a long way in reducing the need for negative consequences and that constant stream of negative feedback. In an ideal world positive strategies would be all that you would need to help your child learn new skills and behave in ways that will keep him or her safe and happy. But in reality, positive strategies aren’t always enough. Every parent needs to use negative consequences sometimes, but knowing when to use them can be tricky.

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IEP vs. 504: What’s the difference?

All students with ADHD have difficulty in school, so much so that many are eligible for special education services under one of two federal laws: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which covers Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act which covers 504 Plans. For students with ADHD, many of the accommodations and services that they need are covered under both plans, making it difficult to understand know which plan might be best fit for your child. Here’s a simple overview to help get you started:

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Catch Your Child Being Good this Holiday Season

Spending time with family around the holidays can be wonderful, and for parents of kids with ADHD it can also be stressful. When you’re visiting family and friends that you only see a few times a year you want more than ever to have things go smoothly. It’s a tall order when your child’s routine is disrupted, and when he or she is so excited about the holidays! As a parent, when you are stressed, your child’s minor misbehaviors – the ones that you would typically let slide – may really get under your skin. So, you’re more likely to notice the things that your child is doing wrong, and overlook the things that he or she may be doing right. As a result, your child receives even more attention for his or her misbehavior, and this attention – even though it’s negative – often leads to an increase in challenging behaviors.

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