That said, I'd like to share the strategies that have helped me to help my son who, by the way, is doing well in a regular classroom of 24 kids! (Thank you very much!)
- Get Educated. Learn as much as you can about ADHD (which affects between 1.6 and 2 million adults and children) so you can be an effective advocate for your child. There are many good books on the subject, including Answers to Distraction by Edward Hallowell, M.D. and John Ratey, M.D.
- Be Upfront About Your Child's Condition. Tell your child's teachers, coaches, camp counselors, babysitters, etc. that your child has ADHD. This will help them to better understand your child and work more effectively with him.
- Keep Abreast of Changing Medications. Depending on the severity of your child's condition, you may need little or no medication; however, if your child does need it, make sure you're aware of all the available medications to treat ADHD symptoms. New drugs continually come out on the market; Concerta, Focalin and Strattera (the first non-stimulant to treat ADD/ADHD) are among the newest. Speak with your pediatrician and/or neurologist about them.
- Be Prepared for Trial and Error. Responses to medications for ADHD are highly individual. You may have to experiment — under your pediatrician's guidance — until you find the best medication and dosage for your child.
- Understand That Medication Is a Partial Solution. While medication can do much to help alleviate the symptoms associated with ADHD, medication is not the total solution. Behavioral modification — an effective discipline/reward system at home and school — is key.
- Learn Effective Discipline. The best behavioral modification system I've found — and use daily — is 1-2-3 Magic. It's been very effective with my son at home and at school. The concept was developed by Thomas Phelan, Ph.D., who wrote: 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12. This precise and effective tool also works for kids who don't have ADHD.
- Work With Your Child's Teacher. Establish a good rapport with your child's teacher. If your child is misbehaving at school, work with his teacher to develop an effective discipline system like 1-2-3 Magic (many teachers already use this system). If your child is having trouble staying focused on his studies, work with the teacher to develop a reward system.