Huntington Connects


Connecting you to the latest news, tips and academic resources

Is ADHD Real?

More than any other disorder, the legitimacy of ADHD as a mental health diagnosis is questioned by armchair experts everywhere. Anyone who has ADHD themselves or has a child with ADHD has encountered family members and friends who are more than happy to share their belief that ADHD doesn’t actually exist - “I was hyper when I was a kid too, but I didn’t have ADHD. It’s just kids being kids.” “Kids are too coddled these days, so they don’t respect their teachers.” “If parents would just discipline their kids, then they wouldn’t behave this way.” “If kids didn’t spend so much time watching TV and playing videogames, then they wouldn’t have ADHD.”

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Taking a Whole-Child Approach to Treating ADHD

When parents seek out the help of a psychologist or meet with their child’s teacher, discussions typically focus on finding solutions for ADHD-related challenges. While these problem-focused conversations are necessary - and are often very helpful - they run the risk of being so ADHD-centric that a child’s strengths and positive qualities are overlooked. As a result, a child isn’t really discussed as a whole person, but is instead talked about only within the context of his or her ADHD. Ultimately, this focus does the child a disservice, because opportunities that capitalize on the child’s strengths are overlooked. 

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Recognizing Screen Addiction in Kids with ADHD

If you’re the parent of a child who spends hours each day playing video games, watching YouTube videos, or checking out friends’ social media posts, you’ve probably wondered at times whether all of this screen time is problematic or if it’s just part of growing up in the 21st century. While all kids benefit from reasonable limits around screen time, kids with ADHD may need stricter limits than most to prevent them from becoming addicted to their screens. 

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Do Computer-Based Cognitive Training Programs Help Kids with ADHD?

Commuter-based cognitive training programs have been marketed for over a decade as interventions that can improve memory and attention in kids with ADHD. The appeal of computerized programs that can have a lasting effect on ADHD symptoms is obvious, especially for parents who have watched their child struggle daily with memory and attention challenges at school and at home. Many parents hope that these programs will be the magic bullet that finally helps their child reach his or her full potential. But, before enrolling their child and committing a significant amount of time and money, parents are faced with the challenge of evaluating the true effectiveness of computer-based programs. This is no small task, particularly given the vast amount of conflicting information available online.

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Talking to Your Child’s New Teacher About ADHD

Open ongoing communication between parents and teachers is essential for kids with ADHD. In fact, the most effective non-medication interventions for kids with ADHD involve regular communication between parents and teachers as a key treatment component. At the start of a new school year parents have the opportunity to set the stage for productive ongoing collaboration with their child’s teacher. Follow these guidelines to get things started off on the right foot:

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Dealing with Back-to-School Anxiety

Everyone feels anxious on the first day of school. Even kids who love school and look forward to the first day feel some butterflies in their stomach as they wonder what their new teacher and classmates will be like. For kids with ADHD who have struggled with school in the past and whose relationships with classmates have often been challenging, the back to school jitters that they experience are often more intense than most. Even if they don’t talk about feeling nervous, the anxiety will still be there and may show up in other ways – like uncharacteristic irritability, difficulty sleeping, and complaints about stomachs and headaches. As a parent it can be hard to know how to help your child cope with his or her anxiety. In addition to strategies that help with everyday anxiety, like taking deep breaths or distracting yourself from anxious thoughts, there are a few important things you can do to help your child cope leading up to the first day of school.  

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