Wednesday 15 February 2012


How to Help ADHD Children Overcome Their Challenges?

I knew I had a lot to do in these 10 days, but I don't really know where I should start. The first day I arrived, the first thing I saw, was Jeff needed a more conducive and calm environment to study.

Below quoted wholesale from my research, but ordered in sequence or priority (though many are running in parallel and kept me working day and night this period of time to establish a foundation system in place before I leave Singapore) based on my personal experience on how one can help an ADHD child and family:

1. Set up A System of Organization

• Children with ADHD may need help organizing. The child should have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and school supplies.

• Use homework and notebook organizers. Stress the importance of having the child write down assignments and bring home needed books.

• As I thought about how I should share the ADHD news to him (he hasn't been formally told, and the doctor explained it to him as if it is a disorder), we started to work on organizing the study room. The picture above is the result. I bought a labelling machine and magazine holder from IKEA to sort and organize all the study material. God is able to make use of my experience in organizing Joshua's playroom and put it to good use here.

2. Create a Quiet Place for Homework

• Households with lots of kids can be pretty chaotic. Don't expect your child to relax or concentrate well in this kind of environment. Make sure he has his own room to do homework in or retreat to when tired or distressed. Next, I started working on this after I have organized Jeff's room.

3. Consistent Routines

• I started working on Jeff's routine and giving more structure to his day. Children with ADHD children benefit from structure and clear routines and consistent rules that they can understand and follow. It should should include specific times for waking up, eating, playing, homework, chores, activities, and bedtime and they should preferably be the same everyday.

• Choose the right time for homework. Many children with ADHD will need a break after school to help them unwind before doing homework. But try to get your child to work before dinner. Evening should be a time for the whole family to wind down from the day. Waiting to do homework until the end of the day can be trying for you and your child.

• Children with ADHD should be rewarded for following these rules. Parents often criticize children with ADHD for their behavior -- but it's more helpful to seek out and praise good behavior. Parents should:

4. Chart the Day

• Post the daily schedule on the wall or stuck on the refrigerator with magnets to remind your child of what he or she is supposed to be doing at any given time. Many children with ADHD have an easier time keeping track of their schedule when someone writes it all down for them, even if they can't read yet.  This can help a child with ADHD stay on task.

• Take some time to sit down with your child to fill out the chart together, and talk about what's planned. Note regular routines, such as lunchtime or gymnastics class, including what your child needs to take with him, as well as special events such as birthday parties. You may want to use a notebook that your child can take to school. Ask your child's teacher if she'd be willing to fill in the log with school activities, including writing down daily homework assignments.

5. Provide Clear, Consistent Expectations, Directions, and Limits

• Children with ADHD need to know exactly what others expect from them.

6. Reward System

• Set up a reward system for things like remembering to bring home all the right books and completing homework before dinner, for example. Early grade-school children benefit the most when the rewards are tangible and immediate. For instance, you might give a reward ticket each time your child meets one of the criteria you've set up. These tickets can be turned in for the dessert of his choice that night or watching a favorite video.

7. Don't Let Your Child Procrastinate

• Make sure your child understands the assignment and gets started. Stay nearby so you can coach him and offer support.

8. Set Up an Effective Discipline System

• Parents should learn discipline methods that reward appropriate behavior and respond to misbehavior with alternatives such as time out or loss of privileges.

9. Nutrition

• While studies on ADHD diets have produced mixed results, some health experts believe foods that are good for the brain could reduce symptoms of ADHD. High-protein foods, including eggs, meat, beans, and nuts, may improve concentration.

• According to SPARK, proper nutrition, including supplementing with multi-vitamins, chicken essence, fish and flaxseed oils etc, also help some children with ADHD/ADD improve their attention span. This is especially useful if the child's ability to pay attention is adversely affected by nutrition-related problems.

10. Say No to Junk Food

• According to SPARK, reduce the amount of cakes, soft-drinks chocolates, sweets, etc. for ADHD/ADD children. These items may cause the child to have mood swings from very hyperactive to moody and depressed state. It might also be helpful to replace simple carbs, like candy and white bread, with complex carbs, like pears and whole-grain bread. The role of food additives is less certain. Some parents believe preservatives and food colorings worsen the symptoms of ADHD, and the American Academy of Pediatrics says it's reasonable to avoid these substances.


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