Tips for Children and Adults with ADD/ADHD

Tips for ADD/ADHD

By: Dr. Carmen L. Baez Franceschi

Parents of children with ADD and adults with ADD are always looking for ideas and suggestions on how to help them be successful in school and at work. Here are some tips which I find especially helpful. 

The most crucial thing is organization and structure. Organizing the patient’s life and providing a structured environment helps. Daily routines are extremely important to have, so here are some examples of the day to day activities:

      • Morning routine: Wake up times should be consistent, clothes should be out from the night before that he/she will wear out, everything that they are going to need is located in the same place, school bags should be left close to the door so they do not forget when they leave. 
        • Consistent times for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinners. 
      • School: 
        • Small size classrooms (max. 15 students) with a structured, dedicated and consistent teacher, who is interested to help.
        • Develop a constant effective communication system with the teachers. It could be by emails, phone calls, or whichever system works better for the both of you. This way it allows you to find out about problems immediately. 
        • Identify a child in your child’s class that has excellent grades and likes to help others.  Meet their  parents and get their contact information so that, if you need to find out information that your child might have forgotten to write you can call them.
      • Create a WhatsApp group for the parents: it can be a good communication channel.
      • Afternoon routines and activities: 
        • Time of pick up should be the same every day. 
        • Study time should always be at the same time.  The child or adolescent should have snacks and rest for at least 30 minutes after school before starting to complete any assignments. The assignments should be done before engaging in any other activities; like sports.
        • If your child has several daily after school activities, having a calendar with all the activities is helpful and should be reviewed each morning.
      • Study time:
        • Should be at the same time each day. 
        • Should be done on a desk (not lying down on the bed).
        • Should be in a quiet place without visual or auditory distractors. (Around 50% of patients with ADD, also have Central Auditory Processing problems and sounds easily distract them)
        • Do not negotiate with your child about the study time.  Everything else should be done after schoolwork is finished.
        • Encourage the child’s emotional growth and maturity of behavior during  independent study (always review schoolwork, but do not do the work for them).  This has to be started from 2nd to 3rd  grade.  
            • Utilize positive reinforcement techniques; like going to see a movie they like, if they do everything by themselves  and behave appropriately.  
        • Assign home chores according to age.  It is important to help sure child develop responsibility
      • Agenda: It is a great habit at any age.  It helps the brain get organized. Teach your child to fill the agenda with assignments, events, activities that will happen.  You can use digital calendars and even create alerts.
      • Screen time (videogames, computer, TV). Limit during school days to 1 hour and 2 hours on weekends.
      • After school activities (Sports, art music classes, Boy Scouts, etc).
        • These are very important! They should be at least 1 hour per day. Physical activity helps to improve attention and concentration. It can be as simple as going to the park. 
        • Do not let your child get too tired. It could affect his/her schoolwork. A short time of physical activity before doing homework increases brain metabolism. 

I hope these tips can help you and your child. When treated, ADD can possibly be a foundation for skills such as multitasking, and if you structure this ability it can actually help you or your child to be more successful in life.  

 

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