Managing your child's ADHD treatment as symptoms evolve

  • ADHD is a complex disorder that often changes over the course of an individual's life.

    ADHD is a complex disorder that often changes over the course of an individual's life. Stock Photo

 
Ascension Illinois
Updated 10/2/2022 8:41 AM

As recently reported by The Wall Street Journal, the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders is in the process of developing the nation's first guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults.

While the news that there were no consistent treatment guidelines for adults with ADHD took many by surprise, there are countless well-accepted strategies to treat children and adolescents with the condition, said Lauren Bantner, manager of Ascension Illinois' Pediatric Behavioral Health Department.

 

Bantner said almost every patient's treatment plan will go through changes as they enter new stages of their life, which is part of what makes ADHD so hard to diagnose in different age groups.

"ADHD is a commonly misunderstood diagnosis," she said. "Children with ADHD are often at risk of being stereotyped as 'off the wall' or 'lazy,' but ADHD is more complex than that with presentation often changing over the course of an individual's life. The support they receive or strategies they use need to be adjusted as well."

Bantner said there are several things you can do to help your child with ADHD develop the skills they need for success, such as decision-making and self-management skills, no matter their symptoms or stage of life:

• Provide positive feedback. Children with ADHD may struggle with self-esteem and emotional regulation. This is why it can be especially important to recognize their efforts and celebrate their success.

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• Work with your child to create a schedule. Sandwiching time-consuming tasks with less challenging ones or chunking complex activities over multiple days are commonly used strategies. In many cases, encouraging your child to collaborate with you can give them some sense of control and improve their focus.

• ADHD is a supported disability diagnosis. Consistent support in the classroom can make a huge difference for your child's focus and success in school, which can have lasting effects as they age. Children with ADHD may be eligible for educational support under a Section 504 plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as a result of their diagnosis.

"Remember there are resources to support you and your child," Bantner said. "Schools, psychiatrists, therapists and community-based support groups all have tools to ease your stress and ensure your child can succeed."

Additional information about the resources available can be found by visiting the Center for Parent Information and Resources website or Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

• Children's health is a continuing series. This week's article is courtesy of Ascension Illinois. For more information, visit healthcare.ascension.org.

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