Wednesday, 15 February 2012

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How to Break the News of ADHD to Your Child?



Here is a compilation of ideas from my research:

Be honest and upfront. The child really needs to understand that it’s just part of who he or she is and it’s really something they can control.” Here are some suggestions for how you can help your child understand her condition:

• "You have something called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. That is a lot of words, so people often just refer to it as ADHD or ADD. ADHD is only part of who you are. It does not define who you are as a person or who you will become as an adult.

1. Fast Brain

• ADD means you have a race-car brain. Do you know what a turbocharged engine is? Your brain works “very fast” and even faster than most people around them. You are not alone. Every person is different in many different ways and we should celebrate these differences.

• The only problem is that sometimes it goes too fast. And it needs special motor oil so it won't overheat. But with the right brakes and oil, it wins lots of races." Intrigued, Jed eyes me. He wants to hear more.

• Say: "You know how you sometimes have trouble paying attention in school? That's because your mind is zipping around all over the place, bursting with new ideas. And that's great! That's why you'll do amazing things and have fun all your life. But you need help taking care of your race-car brain, so I'm going to teach you how to put on the brakes."

2. Kids Are Different

• Kids differ in lots of ways. Some are short and some are tall. Some are really fast and others are not so fast. Some can read really well and some have a harder time learning to read. Kids also differ in how energetic they are and in how their mind works. Some children like to sit quietly for a long time. Children like you have so much energy that it's hard for them to sit quietly for very long.

• While it may be easy for some children to wait their turn or sit still and listen, ADHD children have to work twice as hard at it. You can use the example of trying to type on a computer with gloves or ride a bike while wearing heavy weights--you can do these things, but extra effort is required.

• Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid – A. Einstein

3. Positive Traits
• In fact, there are many positive traits associated with ADD (ADHD) - such as creativity, energy, enthusiasm, and ability to hyper-focus and these traits may be advantages to you later in life, but for now, often, the very same traits that make the classroom difficult. ADHD children constantly have new ideas and are full of energy. This can be used to your benefit.

• “Often, kids with ADHD are very bright," Quinn says. "They know what to do, but they simply don’t know how to get started, they don’t stick with it, and people may misinterpret that.”

• Having all this energy can be great for some things, but when you have to sit still and pay attention to something - like you have to do at school - it can make things difficult. Some kids are also able to really concentrate and think about one thing for a long time. For other kids, though, their mind sort-of jumps from one idea to the next. Having all these different ideas can be great, but when you have to focus on just one thing at a time, it can make things hard.
It can create challenges, but that you can have a very successful life with ADD (ADHD) if you take advantage of its strengths.

4. Solutions

• Now that we know that you have ADHD, we are going to work together to help make things better at home and school. Things are going to start feeling a lot better for you. It is something you can learn to control.

• Some children have trouble seeing well unless they sit close to the blackboard. Other children, like you, may have trouble listening to everything the teacher says unless they sit in the front of the class.

• Use the example of a person who wears eyeglasses to improve reading. This person’s nearsightedness or farsightedness does not make him “less than,” it just means that vision is impaired and eyeglasses can be worn to see better. Just like vision issues, ADHD does not define who that person is. In fact, it is just a small part of them and can be easily managed with the proper “glasses” (treatment).

• Explain to your child that having ADHD means that he has to work harder than most children to focus on one thing at a time. He may find it difficult to stay still during sitting or waiting times or to keep from acting quickly without thinking.

• Sometimes when something goes wrong you stop and think about what to do next and sometimes you don't stop to think and you do something you wish you hadn't. So we'll work on ways to help you get better at stopping and thinking."

5. But Don’t Let ADHD Become a Convenient Excuse

• ADHD can be a strength, but it is not an excuse for bad behavior. Remember, you have a part in your success at home, school and life in general.

• Yes, ADHD makes many tasks harder, but children should learn to take responsibility, Meyer says.
“Don’t let them make ADHD an excuse for something.," Meyer says. "For example, many young children quickly learn to say things, such as, “I don’t need to do my homework because I have an attention deficit disorder,” Meyer says. “That’s not going to cut it." The reality? “It may be harder for me to do my homework because I have an attention deficit disorder.”

• Need to find pleasure in studies, and not boredom - Like you I was a disorganized person and other symptoms you have described, but even so I gave all my effort to change that. Don't blame your life on a condition. Yes, the condition can make things a little more challenging but, it cause make you change who you are for the better.

6. You Are Not Alone

• And guess what? Lots of people have ADHD. You are not alone. Some of the most talented, creative and successful people in this world have ADD/ADHD. Did you know that one of the most famous people with ADD was Albert Einstein?

• Find some books that talk about having ADHD and that feature kids around her age.

7. You Can Be Successful - Show Jeff examples of successful people with ADHD who have done well in life.

• Having ADHD is challenging, but there are those who are successful despite it (or even perhaps because of it?)

• Give your child positive examples of successful people with ADD (ADHD). There are now stories about famous athletes, Hollywood celebrities, politicians, comedians and business entrepreneurs with ADD (ADHD). For example, Quinn specializes in treating children and adults with ADHD. She has the disorder, as do three of her four children. She has consulted for pharmaceutical companies and has written numerous books about ADHD

• Success is not defined by what disorder one has but what a person can achieve with or without ADHD.

8. Why me?

• It could be that God wants you to help others in similar situation. Having personally experienced it, you are in the best position to help those in similar situation. God wants you to overcome it. He wants to help you to overcome it, so that you can give Him the glory.

• It can change who you are for the better.

9. ADHD Can be Out-grown

• Many kids grow out of ADHD as they get older. ADHD children are very often late developers. According to http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/complete-index.shtml, children with ADHD who carry a particular version of a certain gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas of the brain associated with attention. This NIMH research showed that the difference was not permanent, however, and as children with this gene grew up, the brain developed to a normal level of thickness. Their ADHD symptoms also improved.

10. We Love You No Matter What

• Tell your child you love him, no matter what. Tell him you like him just the way he is. It may seem like a given, but it is easy to forget that he needs your love and reassurance that he is okay, and that everything will turn out all right. Talk about your own strengths and weaknesses from when you were a child, and how you worked to overcome them with help from family.

References:http://addadhdadvances.com/childadvantage.html
http://www.babycenter.com/404_how-do-we-explain-to-our-child-that-he-has-adhd_71389.bc
http://www.add-adhd-treatments.com/Famous-People.html
http://www.naddc.org/famous-people-with-adhd.htm
http://add-adhd.lifetips.com/tip/81502/famous-people-with-adhd-add/famous-people-with-adhd/famous-adhd-scientists-inventors.html
http://www.famousadhd.com/people.html
http://www.healthyplace.com/adhd/articles/explaining-adhd-medication-to-child/
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/opinion/sunday/childrens-add-drugs-dont-work-long-term.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

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