Q I think my child could be ADHD, where do I start, where can I go for help?
A: The first step is to ask your GP for a referral to a Specialist who specialises in childhood ADHD and comorbid disorders.
Once a diagnosis is made you can move forward, learn all about ADHD and start making positive choices to benefit both your child and you.
Q: If my Specialist suggests medication for treatment, do I have to give it to my child?
A: No, you do not have to give your child medication if you prefer not to. It’s your choice, not the doctor’s. However, you need to have an alternative plan for your child.
Q: What are the alternatives to medication for ADHD treatment?
A: There are many things you can try which can help.
If learning is a problem, an educational psychologist’s report will identify the what, where and why.
Educate your family and extended family about ADHD through books, DVD’s etc. Read what other parents have had success with, no need to reinvent the wheel.
Attend support groups to share experiences and strategies with others who are in similar situations and can sympathise and support.
Parenting programmes are worthwhile, especially if they have incorporated the ‘challenging child’ concept common in ADHD families.
Other disciplines that have helped parents are:
Diet; Occupational Therapy; Naturopathy; Cranial Osteopathy; Brain gym; Homoeopathy; Acupuncture; Chiropractics; Supplements (especially zinc and EFA’s); Counselling, Psychology, Therapists of all kinds can help if ADHD is clearly understood (preferably on recommendation only);
Q: I have heard that diet can play a big part with ADHD. Is this true?
A: We think that attending to your child’s dietary and nutritional status is vital. Like it or not, WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. Dietary measures will not take away the ADHD but can make it more manageable. The association has information on all aspects of diet via books and DVD’s.
Q: Our family is not coping with our child’s behaviour at home, but at school he seems to be OK! Is this ‘normal’?
A: Yes it is ‘normal’ for many parents to experience this and it can be very frustrating in trying to convince people that your parenting is not at fault! School life for the ADHD child can be very stressful. Many are astute enough to know what is required of them ‘to get through the day’ without getting into too much trouble. But by the time they get home their stress levels are extremely high, which can greatly exaggerate their ADHD symptoms. Tension built up at school by having to behave in a way that is not natural for them is what you see each day after school. A suggestion – don’t take them shopping after school unless you have to. Half an hour in the local pool or a swim in the sea can be beneficial.
Q: I am having real problems at school with my ADHD child. The teachers don’t seem to understand how ADHD can affect children and they punish her for minor discrepancies and expect her to behave like ‘normal’ children. Constant detentions are not the answer, what can I do?
A: You need to find a way to work with the teachers and one way to do this is to get an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) set up. At the IEP you and your support person/advocate will be able to identify, with the teachers, your mutual concerns and what can be done to accommodate your child’s needs. The best possible plan is drawn up with everyone’s agreement to be reviewed at a later date. Whatever you do, the sooner you do it the better it will be for everyone. The problem won’t go away if you do nothing.
Q: Our family is really stressed out after each school day trying to get the required homework completed. What can we do?
A: Homework should never cause stress, cause family disharmony or disruption in the home. Talk to the teacher and ask that if you make sure your child spends the required time on the homework, but does not complete it in that time, that this not incur a punishment. Home-life is far more important than any homework will ever be.