Parental Training

Parenting skills training, offered by therapists or in special classes, gives parents tools and techniques for managing their child's behavior. One such technique is the use of "time-out" when the child becomes too unruly or out of control. During timeouts, the child is removed from the agitating situation and sits alone quietly for a short time to calm down. Parents may also be taught to give the child quality time each day, in which they share a relaxed activity. During this time together, the parent looks for opportunities to point out what the child is doing right and to praise strengths and abilities. An effective way to modify a child's behavior is through a system of rewards and penalties. The parents or teacher identify a few desirable behaviors that they want to encourage in the child, such as asking for a toy politely. The child is told exactly what is expected in order to earn a small reward, which is awarded when he performs the desired behavior. The goal is to help children learn to control their own behavior and to choose the more desired behavior. The technique works well with all children, although children with ADHD may need more frequent rewards.

Parents also may learn to structure situations in ways that will allow their child to succeed. If a child is easily overstimulated, parents may try allowing only one or two playmates at a time. If the child has trouble completing tasks, parents may help the child divide a large task into small steps, then praise the child as each step is completed.

Stress management methods such as meditation, relaxation techniques, and exercise can increase the parents' tolerance for frustration, enabling them to respond more calmly to their child's behavior.

Other behavioral treatments that may be helpful in treating children with ADHD include play therapy and special physical exercise. Play therapy may help a child who has fears and anxieties, but these are not the key problems among most ADHD children. Special physical exercises usually try to boost coordination and increase a child's ability to handle activities that can be overstimulating. Most ADHD children do have problems in these areas, but this is not the cause of ADHD. While these exercises may help, they seem to work mostly because they get parents to pay more attention to the child, which boosts self-esteem.

In addition to more traditional treatments, there are a range of controversial therapies that may sound reasonable. Some come with glowing reports, and a few are outright quackery. Some are developed by reputable doctors or specialists but when tested scientifically, the results cannot be proven.

One of the most widely used controversial treatments is a special diet based on the unproven idea that certain foods cause ADHD. These diets look at specific groups of foods, such as additives, sugar, and foods to which children are commonly allergic, such as corn, nuts, chocolate, shellfish, or wheat. While there is scientific evidence that these diets do not work, many parents strongly believe they help. Some of these diets are healthy and will not hurt, but most experts agree that no special diet alone can solve the problems of ADHD and should not be used as the only treatment for a child's behavior.

Other types of treatment that have not been scientifically shown to be effective in treating the majority of children or adults with ADHD include:


allergy treatments

• drug treatments for inner ear problems

• megadoses of vitamins

• chiropractic treatments

yeast infection treatment

• eye training or special colored glasses

ADHD occurs in children with all levels of intelligence, yet even bright or gifted children with ADHD may experience school failure. Despite their natural ability, problems with inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity often lead to poor grades, retention, suspension, and expulsion. Without proper diagnosis, accommodations, and intervention, children with ADHD are more likely to experience negative consequences.

children suspected of having ADHD must be evaluated at the school's expense and, if found to be eligible, provided services under either of two federal laws, the individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B [IDEA] and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These two laws guarantee children with ADHD a free and appropriate public education. Both laws also require that children with disabilities be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with children who do not have disabilities. Because there are different criteria for eligibility, different services available, different procedures for implementing the laws, and different procedural safeguards, it is important for parents, educators, clinicians, and advocates to be well aware of the variations between these laws and to be fully informed about their respective advantages and disadvantages.

The most substantial difference between these two laws is that eligibility for iDEA mandates that a child have a disability requiring special education services, while eligibility for Section 504 may occur when the child needs special accommodations or related services. Because of this distinction, children covered under Section 504 include those who typically either have less severe disabilities than those covered under iDEA or have disabilities that do not neatly fit within the categories of eligibility under iDEA. Most students classified as ADHD are served under the Rehabilitation Act.

Some of the services that could be provided to eligible children include modified instructions, assignments, and testing; help from a classroom aide or a special education teacher; assistive technology; behavior management; and the development of a behavioral intervention plan.

Adjustments may be necessary for a child with ADHD in the classroom, such as having the child sit in front of the room so as to help him pay better attention. The teacher can try to limit open spaces in the classroom, which may encourage hyperactive behaviors. Teachers should provide clear instructions and have the child write down homework assignments in a notebook. Both parent and teacher should keep oral instructions brief and provide written instructions for tasks that involve many steps.

Formal feedback and reward programs (such as a star chart) can be used to reinforce positive behaviors and progress even if it falls a little short of the goal. The child should work hard on organization, establishing daily checklists.

Parents and teachers also can help the child with ADHD:

• Control impulses urge him to slow down when answering questions and to check his homework before turning it in.

• Foster self-esteem The child should be encouraged and not be asked to perform a task in public that is too difficult.

• Design a specific behavior program that focuses on a few unacceptable behaviors with clear and consistent consequences. These consequences should not be publicly humiliating (hand signals can warn a child that his behavior is inappropriate).

• Encourage active learning by having the child underline important passages in his school books as he reads and to take notes in class.

Even when suspended or expelled, children covered by IDEA are still entitled to education services that meet the standards of a free appropriate education. Parents can request an impartial due process hearing when they disagree with a school's decision.

under a separate provision, a child can remain in the then-current educational placement until all administrative proceedings are concluded, unless the child has brought a weapon or drugs to school or is proven to be substantially likely to harm himself or others.

If a child's behavior interferes with learning, IDEA requires that a functional behavior analysis be conducted and a positive behavior plan be developed. IDEA prohibits schools from suspending such a child for more than 10 days or expelling students whose behavior results from their disability, unless drugs or weapons are involved or the child is a danger to himself or others.

ADHD Helping Your Anxious Child Audio

ADHD Helping Your Anxious Child Audio

Has Your Child Been Diagnosed With ADHD Is Coping With Your Child's Behavior Wearing You Out Are You Tired of Searching For Answers An ADHD child does not have to have a dark cloud over his or her head. If You've Got Burning Questions About ADHD, I've Got Answers.

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