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Guiding parents and teachers to navigate the challenges of ADHD

ADHD is a medical condition marked by developmental delays in children and teens, and often leads to challenges in parenting. It tends to be greatly misunderstood by medical and therapeutic providers, who may develop treatment plans that rely on medication as a sole source of treatment to the exclusion of behavior management training in parenting. Parenting interventions are effective, recommended, and have been proven to improve symptoms for children and teens. Most experts agree that ADHD is much (cont'd below)

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Leading Articles about Managing ADHD

Turning Around Toxic Intensity

By Carey Sipp

I did not know what ADHD was, or that it was the likely cause of my forgetfulness, my being “scattered,…

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Limiting Screen Time with a Healthy Play Diet

By Randy Kulman

I field a lot of questions about how to help children with ADHD who seem dependent on screen-based technologies; most…

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How to Manage Your ADHD Home without Making Yourself Crazy

By Regina Lark

I began my professional life with a doctorate in women’s history, and now I’m a professional Organizer. You’d be surprised…

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4 Life Rules to Using ADHD to Its Full Advantage

Interview with Peter Shankman

There are so many challenges that parents face when a child is diagnosed with ADHD, that it can be difficult…

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ADHD, Art & Organization: 3 Simple Projects to Get Organized

By Tracey Goodwin, MEd & Holly Oberacker, ATR

What do ADHD, Art and Organization have in common? When you combine a highly creative ADHD brain with art materials,…

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Shedding the Shoulds

By Jeremy Didier

The moment I stopped ‘should-ing’ all over myself, life changed for the better. I know you’ve been there, so you…

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Get Back to Basics – 3 Great Ways to Live Better With ADHD

By Sarah Wright

When it comes to ADHD we hear a lot about neurochemicals, but did you know that to function well, our…

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ADD/ADHD teen

Parenting an ADD/ADHD Teen: How It Really Works

By Diane Dempster

A Classic Tale My ADD son agreed to do one week of conditioning camp with the cross-country team to get…

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When Parenting is Scary: Parenting Kids with Depression, Anxiety, and More

By Elaine Taylor-Klaus

In a coaching group for parents of young adults (age 18 to 30-something), a beleaguered mom asked the question on…

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(continued) more than a ‘deficit of attention.’ Instead, ADHD can appear as a rather complicated collection of symptoms, manifesting somewhat differently for each individual. It may more easily be understood as a brain-based developmental delay in executive function. It can also be confused with or compounded by the many co-existing conditions that are common for people with ADHD, including anxiety, learning disabilities, depression, asthma, allergies, autism, Tourette syndrome, as well as newer (and less-well-known or researched) conditions, such as rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD).

Executive functions are responsible for how we think, feel, and act. They’re how we get ourselves to do (or not do) absolutely anything. Therefore, the symptoms that lead to an ADHD diagnosis are not just whether or not someone can pay attention, but whether they can self-regulate – whether they can decide what to pay attention to, stick with it, finish what they’re focusing on, minimize their impulses, and avoid getting distracted in the process. That’s what makes parenting so difficult.

The five areas most commonly reflected in ADHD symptoms rely heavily on executive function: attention (focus), impulsivity, organization, emotional intensity, and (sometimes) hyperactivity. Again, when kids, teens or young adults struggle with these issues, it can cause significant challenges in parenting.

Whether parents are trying to get life moving in the mornings or just help their kids and teens manage any or all of their responsibilities, ADHD is best treated by a combination of medication and ‘behavior therapy,’ otherwise known as parent management training, or behavior management training. With training, parenting can work with medication (when relevant) to teach children and teens skills in self-management, and ultimately improve outcomes for the whole family.