In my previous post I discussed the reasons why so many kids with ADHD struggle to successfully transition from one activity to another throughout the day. The good news is that while transitions are much more difficult for kids with ADHD than kids without ADHD, with some targeted support and accommodations, transitioning between activities can become much easier.
For many kids with ADHD the most difficult times of the day are those that happen when they are transitioning from one activity to another. At school, it may be when they are ending an academic period and getting ready to head to art class or to lunch. Or it may be during more subtle transitions, like when they are moving from circle time on the rug to classwork at their desk. At home, challenging transitions come up when a child needs to settle down for homework time after playing video games, or when they need to transition into their bedtime routine.
It’s that time of year again when we all work hard to find just the right toy or gift for our kids. If you have a child with ADHD, gift giving is yet one more area where you may find yourself being even more thoughtful than most about the items you choose. The team at ADDitude Magazine recently published a whole host of gift ideas for kids with ADHD, ranging from fidget kits to stress relievers, to books to toys. Their articles cover great non-tech toys (https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/gift-ideas-adhd-kids/), gift ideas for kids with sensory issues (https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/sensory-gifts-for-adhd-children/) and products designed for tactile learners (https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/educational-toys-for-children-with-adhd/). They are terrific resources for parents.
While it may appear that a disorganized child with ADHD is careless or sloppy, often these students care very much about their materials and wish they could have a neat desk like their classmates. The problem is that the executive functioning skills required for organization are underdeveloped, making it almost impossible for them to maintain an organized desk and work area on their own.
Transitioning smoothly from one activity or setting to another can be very challenging for students with ADHD. Somewhat surprisingly, difficulty managing transitions is actually one of the least talked about problems associated with ADHD, yet it is at these times of the day that students with ADHD are typically the most disruptive or emotional.
Getting assignments completed during the school day is challenging for all kids with ADHD. Unfinished classwork is a frustrating problem for teachers, who struggle to find ways to motivate kids with ADHD to complete work at the same pace as other students in the classroom. It’s also a frustrating problem for students, who often feel like they are failing when they see their peers staying on task and completing assignments easily. Often unfinished work is sent home and added to the day’s regular homework assignments. This extends the frustration to parents who see their children struggling to complete the typical homework load, let alone added work at the end of the day.
Neurofeedback (also known as EEG biofeedback) is marketed as an alternative treatment for ADHD. Parents who are looking for a medication-free treatment option often hear about neurofeedback and wonder if it can help their child.
Finding the motivation to study can be hard when you have ADHD and having ADHD can make it harder to memorize important information when it’s not related to something that you find particularly interesting. One of the keys to studying with ADHD is figuring out which strategies work for you and doing little things to make these strategies as engaging and fun as possible. Flashcards are one study tool that can be great for ADHD. They build confidence through repetition, so you’ll feel prepared going into your exam and you can build in visual cues that make the content easier to recall on test day. You can make them interactive and engaging when you use them with friends or parents, and when you build in memorization goals and rewards.
Learning that your child or teen has ADHD or is struggling with symptoms of anxiety or depression can be overwhelming, and it’s hard for parents to know what to look for when they are searching for a therapist who can help. For your child to have the best chance of success with treatment, it is essential that parents look for a therapist who provides evidence-based treatments. Evidence-based treatments have undergone rigorous testing through scientific studies and clinical trials and have been proven to be effective for many kids with ADHD and other mental health problems (for a description of evidence-based treatments see my previous post on this topic.
Having a child or teen who struggles with ADHD can be challenging. The good news is that Evidence Based Treatments – effective treatment programs and strategies that have been tested through rigorous scientific research - are available. These treatments aren’t going to make your child’s ADHD symptoms disappear, but research findings tell us that these treatments (either alone or in combination with medication) should lead to significant improvement. Unfortunately, for many parents it can be difficult to know if the treatment being provided by their child’s therapist is actually evidence-based. While I encourage all parents to have a direct conversation with their child’s therapist about their training and treatment approach, there are also things parents can look for in the content of the therapy sessions themselves that will indicate whether an evidence-based treatment is being used.