Although children with ADHD may seem to be inherently anti-structure, they actually function best in a structured, familiar setting. But vacations and travel are all about getting away from the familiar – new places, new schedules, new people. As the parent of a child with ADHD, you probably know that this is a recipe for crankiness at the very least and meltdowns at the worst. There are some steps you can take to mitigate the impact that travel will have on your child’s behavior.
When I started to realize that my son's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was having an impact on his social interactions, I considered social skills group therapy as a solution. Social skills group therapy helps children with ADHD or a disorder on the autism spectrum learn and practice social skills with other children.
I live in Northern California, right next to Berkeley, so I figured it would be easy to find a group. You can't throw a stone in Berkeley without hitting a therapist of some kind. But you could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized that there were only a couple of these groups in my area, and they met too far away from us to make using them feasible.
I read a few books, which gave me some ideas such as role-playing with him, to practice the correct interactions. But unfortunately my son just found role-playing kind of dumb, maybe because he was role-playing with me instead of another child. I was beginning to run out of methods.
HealthDay News — The brains of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD show abnormalities in certain areas involved with "visual attention," new research finds.Researchers performed functional MRIs fMRIs on 19 children aged 9 to 15 diagnosed with ADHD and 19 without the disorder while the children took a test in which they were shown a set of numbers and then asked to remember whether a subsequent group of numbers matched the original.
HealthDay News — Children with specific gene variants respond better to the drug methylphenidate Ritalin, Concerta, which is widely used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD, a new study says.The finding could help improve treatment of ADHD, according to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center researchers."Physicians don’t have a good way of predicting who will experience great improvement in ADHD symptoms with a particular medication, so currently we use a trial-and-error approach. Unfortunately, as a result, finding an effective treatment can take a long time," lead investigator Dr. Tanya Froehlich, a physician in the division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics, said in a medical center news release.
(HealthDay News) — In new guidelines released Sunday, the American Academy of Pediatrics has expanded the age range for the diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to children as young as 4 and as old as 18.
For the youngest children, the academy is emphasizing the use of behavior treatments over medication in most cases.
"I think the most significant changes are expanding the ages from preschool through adolescence. The original guidelines were from 6 to 12, because that’s where the evidence was. We’ve been able to broaden the scope of the guidelines because there was more evidence available for preschoolers and adolescents," said the lead author of the new recommendations, Dr. Mark Wolraich, CMRI Shaun Walters Professor of Pediatrics and the Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.
Very few children are naturals at social interaction and sail through childhood making friends effortlessly, but children with ADHD/ADD have a harder time socializing than most. I remember being laughed at when I marched up to my 4th grade crush and told him I liked him and wanted him to come over to my house in front of his friends. I was terrible at picking up on social cues and figuring out the unspoken rules. Even more painful than my own memories is the possibility that my son might go through the same thing, although his issues are a little different than mine were. For some reason, I was more ADD than ADHD when I was a kid, but my son is very definitely in the ADHD camp. As such, he often has problems with being bossy, interrupting other people and not wanting to take turns. If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, you might be in the same position and wondering how to help.
I’m dropping my son off at morning daycare. There are three other children there already, and they’re playing with those rings you toss like a Frisbee. While I’m signing my son in, I hear him say, "I’ve got something that’s much better than those." He’s holding up a Star Wars ship.
Under the pretense of giving him a goodbye shoulder squeeze (no hugs from Mom in front of other kids at his age), I whisper, "Honey, it’s not nice to say that your toy is better than someone else’s or to try to grab all the attention." "Okay, okay," he says impatiently. I stifle a sigh as I leave, crossing my fingers. I hope his school day will go well.
There can be positive aspects to having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when it comes to social skills. My son has never been shy with adults or other kids. We call him our "little cruise director" because whenever we brought him to/picked him up from school, as early as preschool, he greeted almost everyone he saw, adults and other kids, by name. While we were visiting California prior to moving out here, we went to a new park where, of course, he didn’t know anyone. Within five minutes of our arrival, I heard him saying, "Hey, kids! Let’s pretend the playscape is a pirate ship."
For the most part, however, ADHD tends to engender more challenges than benefits when it comes to social skills. Outgoing can become attention-seeking and boastful, as in my opening example, and take-charge can become aggressive and bossy.
My son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder last summer. His kindergarten teacher, who was wonderful, urged us to have him officially diagnosed so that the school would be obligated to accommodate him in first grade and beyond.
I was reluctant to start giving him the medication, but after the first two weeks of school it became clear that we had to. His first grade teacher was inexperienced and insecure, and seemed to see his ADHD behavior as a deliberate challenge to her authority. And there was no question that he was having trouble concentrating, especially as the length of his school day had essentially doubled from the length it had been in kindergarten.
Last year I was picking my son up at school. I was waiting on the bench outside his classroom with the other parents. His teacher, Mrs. D, always ran late, and our kids had just returned from the playground. They were lined up to use the water fountain. Because they line up by size, my son, the tallest, was last in line, and was helping the boy in front of him by holding down the water fountain handle. Their teacher got impatient, which was common with her. Although it didn’t look like Lawrence was goofing around (which I would definitely recognize, having seen it enough), she snapped at him, "Lawrence! Cut it out!"
For me, parenting a child with ADHD is two parts love and one part frustration. I find myself saying, “But how could you forget to do that?” almost as many times as I say, “I love you, honey.” We know from experience that simply telling an ADHD child that he has to remember deadlines, stop losing things and stay on task doesn’t work. Our children just aren’t wired that way. The best thing I’e found to alleviate some of that frustration is to find ways to compensate for my son’s shortcomings. Here are a few strategies you might want to try.