I think my child may have ADHD, what now?
Before finding the right ADHD treatment, parents, children, caregivers, educators and siblings are usually all at the end of their rope.
Parenting a child or children with ADHD is utterly exhausting. And it sometimes seems children with ADHD never tire. This combination causes a very difficult problem to be solved.
Parents have often exhausted themselves trying everything in their power to help their children. As hard as they are working, it is not surprising that they often find themselves feeling easily frustrated, and perhaps short-tempered. Maybe they start the beginning of the day using a soft, patient tone of voice and then the irritability slowly rises as the strategies they use from the parenting books don’t work.
At the same time, children are trying to control themselves, very much wanting their parents’ approval. They have the best intentions, but simply can’t contain themselves no matter how hard they try. This leaves both children and adults sad, self-blaming, frustrated and irritated.
Living with ADHD makes a family’s home life feel chaotic instead of calm. Parents wonder how to have the family life they dreamt of when they decided to have children. They want to be the best parents they can be, and they want to find a way to help their children.
It is possible to replace the chaos with calm and order.
When family members work so hard without results, it doesn’t take long to feel discouraged and the self-esteem of all family members can suffer. Life doesn’t have to be this way. There is a lot of information now about how to help kids with ADHD and their parents.
Medication isn’t the only option. The best ADHD treatment takes a more holistic approach, combining nutrition, better sleep, exercise, and social skills coaching. An effective treatment plan needs to be created individually for each child, taking all family members into consideration. Even when parents decide that medication is the best option for their child, it works best when combined with other treatments.
With the proper ADHD treatment, kids with can become highly successful in academic and social settings.
Parents don’t want to be drill sergeants constantly barking orders, and kids don’t want to feel like they can’t doing anything right. Once everyone is given an alternate way to manage the symptoms, families begin to experience a calm home again. Parents can focus on enjoying and guiding their children, and children can play and have fun along with their friends, while also meeting the expectations of teachers and caregivers.
As children are given strategies that work, they will likely become more motivated to try to stay focused. When an adult they trust believes they can control themselves, they begin to believe it as well.
Isn’t ADHD over-diagnosed these days?
It may seem like ADHD is just a label tacked onto an energetic child, or a passing phase that the child will grow out of. It is scary to wonder whether or not teachers are recommending evaluation so that they can “sedate active children.” Or parents may blame themselves, thinking their expectations are too high or their discipline is too lax.
The best way to answer these common questions and doubts is to have a proper evaluation performed by a licensed professional. Such a professional can determine whether or not a child meets the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD. This is an important step because there are a variety of subtypes of this disorder. Once a clear diagnosis is established, the proper ADHD treatment can be mapped out based on the unique situation of the child and family.
What other parents are saying.
A recent Consumer Reports Health Survey surveyed everyday families to learn about their experiences with different kinds of ADHD treatment. Clinical psychologists were rated most helpful with behavior issues, social relationships, and self-esteem. Medication was overall the highest rated intervention (with 67% of parents reporting that it “helped a lot”). Tutoring and behavior therapy were also reported to be helpful.
ADHD Treatment requires a Quarterback!
The child experts at Main Line Counseling Partners have many years of success in helping families treat, manage, and thrive despite their obstacles. We have a child psychologist on staff who is highly skilled at all the steps in the process.
The first step is a thorough assessment. The assessment includes psychological testing, social and emotional history and discussions with teachers or other important community members. Then all parties work together using the recommended strategies. One central plan is created to manage difficult behaviors, academic struggles and increase focus.
Our therapists can be considered quarterbacks of sorts, looking at the big picture and helping to make sure that all the different areas of the child’s life are being considered. This is important with all children, but imperative with ADHD treatment. Our child specialists help the family track medical issues, academic performance, social relationships, after-school activities and family dynamics.
We will have direct contact with community members on behalf of your child. This may include advocacy for support services or accommodations at school, or speaking with a child psychiatrist about concerns about medication side effects. Whatever situation presents itself your therapist will help you and your child negotiate the waters.
Our child specialist is child psychologist, Dr. Meghan Prato. You may schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with her to discuss your situation.
To learn more, read our blog post on ADHD warning signs