Solutions Families Use
Some of the solutions families use to help manage attention issues and ADHD include:
1. Ask Your Primary Care Provider
Your child’s primary care provider (PCP) can use developmental screening tools to help determine if attention issues are a concern. A PCP can also help you to rule out medical concerns that can look like attention struggles.
Learn how to bring up a concern.
2. Find a Mental Health Professional
A mental health professional can help you to understand how attention issues are impacting your child. Many types of mental health providers can diagnose ADHD, including psychologists, counselors and clinical social workers. Some families also work with psychiatrists and use medication to help manage symptoms. Finally, you can use an ongoing relationship with a counselor to help your child focus on strengths (#3), practice social skills (#4) or learn emotion regulation skills (#5).
3. Take a Strengths Approach
Children with attention issues or ADHD often struggle with poor self-esteem. These children may be criticized by others for failing to pay attention, doing poorly with school work, or failing to complete activities. Yet, these children often have strengths in imagination, flexibility, intuition and more.
Learn how to highlight your child’s strengths and build self-esteem with this podcast.
4. Try Social Skills Training
Many children with attention issues or ADHD struggle with social skills. This happens for a lot of reasons, including delayed development in executive function, difficulties paying attention to social cues, managing impulse control to take turns and not interrupt, and so on. Many families benefit from speech therapy or counseling (where children can learn social skills 1:1), social skills groups or parent education on social skills.
5. Teach Emotion Regulation Skills
All children struggle with emotion regulation at some point, but for kids with attention issues or ADHD, managing big emotions can be especially challenging. That’s because – for kids with attention issues or ADHD – the ability to use their emotional “pause button” tends to develop much later. When it does develop – it’s often much more difficult to use. To help, families often work with therapists to help kids develop skills.
6. Build Exercise, Sleep and Healthy Diet into Daily Routines
Research has shown that exercise and sleep are even more important for children with attention issues or ADHD because they can reduce hyperactivity and improve attention. Some families work with nutritional experts to boost attention and focus with dietary changes.
7. Support Yourself with Parent Training
Caring for a child with attention issues or ADHD can be challenging, especially if you do not experience the same kinds of challenges. Parent training programs like the Kazdin Method, Triple-P, and The Incredible Years can help you to set consistent limits and manage your child’s behavior effectively.
8. Add Structure, Routines and Visuals
Children with attention issues or ADHD often struggle with executive function (EF). EF, which helps us plan, prioritize and understand consequences, continues to develop into adulthood. Think of structure, routines and visuals like training wheels on the EF bicycle – they help your child until they develop the skills they need.
9. Solve Problems Collaboratively
Many children with attention issues or ADHD have challenging behaviors. These kids would do well if they could, but often have not developed the skills they need to succeed. Families who solve problems collaboratively with their children are able to work on developing these skills while improving challenging behaviors.
10. Communicate with School
Apart from time spent at home, children spend most of their time at school. Having good communication with your child’s school team can help school staff to support your child. Some children with attention issues or ADHD may also benefit from special education services.
11. Use Assistive Technology
Many families use assistive technology, including smart speakers, watches, tablets, and specially designed equipment/services to boost executive function skills in their children.
This webinar from CHADD introduces assistive technology and walks you through several different examples. You can also try assistive technology right now by clicking the purple icon on the lower left side of this screen. Next click the Focus tool to toggle different options for reading focus.
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