Huntington Connects


Connecting you to the latest news, tips and academic resources

Back-to-School Routines for Kids with ADHD

Did you know that routines are an essential tool for managing ADHD?  Routines help create daily habits that allow us to shift into “autopilot mode” so we can get things done without having to repeatedly plan each step and focus intently on every detail. For kids with ADHD who are getting ready to head back to school, developing a powerful and effective autopilot mode can be invaluable. Routines make it much easier for kids to remember everything they need to bring to school each day. They also build independence so they can get up and ready in the morning without repeated reminders from their parents. As a result, routines lead to less frustration and family conflict over things like leaving the house late in the morning or forgetting to bring completed homework back to school the next day.

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Taking the Stress out of Back-to-School Shopping

With the first day of school just weeks away, it’s time to stock up on all of the school supplies, clothes, and accessories that your kids are going to need this year. Back-to-school shopping can seem overwhelming when your child has ADHD. The idea of having to keep track of an active, impulsive, and distractible child while also managing a long shopping list is daunting for parents. For kids, the stress, overstimulation, and temptations that accompany back-to-school shopping lay the perfect foundation for the predictable arguments and meltdowns. No one can avoid back-to-school shopping, but there are many things you can do to make it a more positive experience for you and your child. 

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Staying Organized on Summer Road Trips with ADHD

Family road trips are fun and exciting, but they can also be stressful when one or more family members have ADHD. Some of this stress comes simply from being in close quarters and having to stay seated in the car for long stretches of time. While you can’t do much to cut down on the amount of driving that’s required for your trip you can tackle another source of stress – disorganization. When you’re in the car with kids, especially kids with ADHD, things can get messy quickly. You may start off with a clean car, but buckle kids into the back seat with their games, drinks, and food and the car can go from clean to a disaster zone in 5 minutes or less! This chaos makes it hard for kids with ADHD to keep track of their things, and can be the source of arguments, whining, and even tears. Often this backseat chaos doesn’t get left behind once you reach your destination. When things are disorganized at the beginning of a trip, it is very hard for kids to become organized once they’re on the road. As a result, the hotel room quickly mirrors the messy car.

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What Is the Difference Between ADD and ADHD?

As an ADHD expert one of the questions that I’m asked most often is, “What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?” Sometimes people share with me that they were diagnosed with ADD is as a kid and wonder how the ADHD that they hear about today is different from the diagnosis they received in childhood. With both terms being so prevalent, people are often surprised to learn that ADD is actually an outdated term. Today healthcare providers only refer to ADHD and no longer use ADD as a diagnostic label. Labels like ADD and ADHD originate from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM), which is the healthcare “manual” for all recognized mental disorders. The DSM is used by healthcare professionals as a reference guide for the symptoms, impairments, and diagnostic criteria associated with ADHD as well as other disorders, like depression and anxiety.

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Fun Activities that will Get Kids Learning this Summer

Children experience significant learning loss during the summer months when they do not engage in learning activates. This summer slide is responsible for up to two months of lost learning in math and up to one month of lost learning in reading. For kids with ADHD, who often finish the school year behind their peers academically, summer learning activities not only help offset the summer slide, but also help build skills that may have been missed during the school year. Unfortunately, because school is more challenging and stressful for kids with ADHD, they are typically more resistant to participating in summer learning activities. While structured academic enrichment activities are an important part of any summer learning plan, there’s also room for fun learning activities at home that won’t feel quite so much like schoolwork. When kids with ADHD are doing something that they enjoy, their resistance disappears and their enthusiasm soars!

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Is ADHD Genetic?

There is so much discussion online about possible causes of ADHD – watching too much TV, eating too much sugar, lax parenting, schools that don’t allow for enough creativity or physical activity, etc. Surprisingly, one of least discussed topics is the connection between our genes and ADHD. We know that genes strongly influence our appearance, our intelligence, our athletic ability, and even our personality, so why not ADHD symptoms as well? 

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