Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD, is a behavioral disorder affecting approximately 8%-10% of school age kids. Although it is not known why, boys are more often diagnosed with ADHD than girls. It is most often discovered during the earlier childhood years, especially as it has become more recognized, although some kids don't get diagnosed until they are in their teens.
ADHD is most often characterized by an inability to concentrate on one task for long, hyperactivity and acting without thinking. Kids affected by the disorder may find great difficulty paying attention, holding still or following through with directions, even if they fully comprehend what is expected of them. Although all children act like this to some degree, ADHD sufferers present symptoms over a long and consistent period of time and it occurs in multiple settings, impairing social and academic function as well as their day to day life at home.
Although ADHD has been frequently misunderstood, proper treatment, including medication and therapy, can go a long way toward allowing those suffering from the disorder to manage their symptoms and ultimately thrive.
Make a routine and stick to it – Following the same schedule every day can be very helpful to kids with ADHD. They have a better chance of regulating themselves if they always know what is expected consistently.
Eliminate distractions – Kids with ADHD are particularly susceptible to distractions when they need to concentrate on homework or chores. Turn off the TV, put away the phone and eliminate repetitive background noises as best you can until the task is finished.
Academic Accommodations- You can help your child thrive academically by making sure that he has access to the things he needs in school to succeed. This may include tutors, testing accommodations and open communication with each teacher. Helping your child stay organized in order to create structure is critical to succeeding in school as is making sure you know what is required and when.
Peer Relationships - Many kids who have ADHD suffer from problems in their peer relationships. Statistically, they have fewer reciprocal friends and they are more susceptible to bullying or being bullied. Keep the line of communication open between you and your child in order to discuss friendship and relationship difficulties. Encourage social participation within a structured and safe social environment, such as extracurricular activities. Attending therapy to specifically hone social skills can also be helpful.
Driving- Kids with ADHD have a much higher risk of traffic tickets or accident because of their heightened sensitivity to distractions as well as their tendency for inattention and impulsiveness. Use your judgment when determining what age is appropriate for your child to drive. Keep him safe by making sure he is taking his medication, restricting passengers in the car and setting strict rules about phone use. Make sure that he is aware of the extra concerns associated with his condition and driving and gradually allow more freedom as his judgment and skill matures.
At Risk Behavior – Studies have proven that teenagers with ADHD tend to participate in substance abuse and become sexually active earlier than those without the disorder. Parents can help their teens avoid this by being aware of their social activities as well as who they hang out with. Minimize unsupervised and unstructured free time by encouraging extracurricular activities and maintain a constant and open dialog about the dangers of unsafe sex and underage drinking. Your rules and the consequences should be clear and consistent so your child knows what to expect.
Liahona Academy is a full time residential facility specializing in helping teens overcome many of the pitfalls they encounter when living with ADHD. Through therapy and practical life skills, your son can gain the tools he needs to manage his symptoms and thrive. For more information on ADHD help from Liahona Academy, call us for a free consultation at 1-855-587-1416.
Tyler Clark is the Online Outreach Coordinator for Liahona Academy. Liahona Academy is located in Utah and specializes in behavioral management for teen boys.