ADD/ADHD – Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder

“I get so frustrated with him.  We spent three hours doing that paper last night, the one that was assigned 2 weeks ago and today, HE FORGETS TO TURN IT IN!”

What do you say to this (understandably) irate parent?

I start by showing them my phone and the 6 different reminder lists in it (aside from my calendar).  I explain why I have scrap paper on the end-table by my chair (there for notes I write to myself for when I get home. I also show them the notes I have written myself that day that I will read and do when I get home tonight. I also explain the notes I write for myself at home for the office, where I put them so I won’t forget them in the morning when I go to work.).  I show the parent the drawer in the end-table, what is in it and why I keep extra progress notes in the closet versus the drawer.

I explain how my desk is organized and how long I have had this desk. I explain that I have scrap paper in my therapy office, my assistance’s office and my personal office….and on the counter by the refrigerator at my home. I explain I must write down plans I make when I am talking to anyone on the phone (or I will forget them) and that my office assistant and I have this running joke about me losing my pen and how tricky numbers are, at least when I add and subtract them! I explain why I have kept shoe laces in my underwear drawer in my dresser for the past 30 years and that I am 55 years old.

What is my point?

I have some ADD (Ask my office assistant! On second thought, no, don’t.). It has taken me YEARS to figure out how to keep myself on track.  After 30 + years of counseling people, I have come to the conclusion that it takes years to help kids with ADD/ADHD to learn how to control their behavior and keep themselves on track.

These kids CAN learn to control themselves AND you will play a big role in this….by suggesting ideas, praising effort and success, encouraging and reminding.  You will not help by getting mad and yelling. It is not the child’s fault they are ADD/ADHD. It is the fault of the parent that passed it on to them (ADD/ADHD is a biological condition that is passed on genetically.). BUT, it is the child’s responsibility to learn how to control themselves and kids tend to work harder if they feel accepted and encouraged, rather than rejected.

MEDICATIONS PLAY A ROLE. If you are against medications, I urge you to examine your reservations with someone who knows about these meds.  If you still are against the idea, it will just take longer for the kids to master this.