Although there is no cure for ADHD, there is a recommended treatment plan that requires parents, educators, and members of the medical profession to work cooperatively. This plan includes parent training in managing behavior, counseling, educational supports, and medication when needed.
The parent training component recognizes how important it is for parents to provide clear expectations for behavior, establish consistent rules, provide positive reinforcement when rules are followed, and provide immediate consequences when rules are broken.
The counseling portion of the treatment plan may include both individual and family counseling. Family counseling may be useful in planning and evaluating workable strategies, such as conflict resolution, and providing needed emotional support. Individual counseling for the ADHD child can provide training in social skills, anger control, and relaxation techniques.
A supportive educational program with regular home-school communication is also needed. An
ADHD child benefits when teachers provide structure by clearly communicating expectations, rules, and consequences. The educational program may also include modifications and accommodations such as shortening assignments, allowing more time for work completion or tests, and limiting homework.
The most controversial part of the treatment plan is the decision regarding medication of children with ADHD. When medication is prescribed, it is intended to improve the symptoms of ADHD. The benefits of medication can include a decrease in impulsiveness, aggressiveness, hyperactivity, and inappropriate social interaction. There can also be an increase in the child's ability to concentrate, shut out distractions, and complete schoolwork and jobs at home. The use of medication is controversial, though. Many people believe that schools advocate the use of medication as a way to control unruly behavior in children who do not necessarily have ADHD. The primary reason, however, that parents oppose the use of medication is because of possible side effects. Some children experience weight loss, lose their appetite, or have difficulty falling asleep. Together, parents and doctors should consider the benefits and concerns when making a decision about medication.
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