Parent Training

Parent Training for ADHD and other Childhood Disorders

Parent training is a treatment modality in which parents are provided with resources to help them parent a child with a behavioral, emotional, or developmental disorder. It is essentially a program of education to help parents adjust their behavior to the developmental needs of their child. For instance, parents of children with disruptive behaviors are taught how to set rules and define consequences for disobeying those rules. There are many different types of programs available – each specifically designed to address the symptoms of the disorder.

Parent training has become increasingly more popular as a form of treatment due in large part to recent research supporting its effectiveness. One study on the effectiveness of parent training in preschool children with ADHD found it reduced symptoms in a number of indexes, including the participants’ inattention and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, aggression, and rule-breaking behaviors. Parent training is also shown to be effective in decreasing anxious symptoms, withdrawn/depressed symptoms, affective problems, poor social skills, somatic problems, early conduct disorder, disruptive behaviors, and overall improve a child’s well-being.

In addition to helping parents cope better with their child’s symptoms, these programs help improve parent-child interactions. With many parents reporting to have improved relationships with their children after participating in a program. Parent training programs are also shown to have a positive influence on parents’ own view of their mental well-being and a decrease in family stress.

These type of training programs typically last about 10 weeks. Participating in a program with an online therapist can be highly effective as well as convenient for busy families. Therapists at Well Street are available today to design a parent training program for you and your family.

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Parent Training 2018-02-12T11:56:27+00:00

ADHD vs ADD

The Difference Between ADHD and ADD

ADHD vs ADD – what’s the difference? When it comes to attention disorders in children, two common chronic conditions are Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It’s important for parents to know the difference between the two in order to properly create and execute a treatment plan for your child. If these conditions are not treated, they can have a significant impact on your child’s emotional, academic and social environments in childhood, adolescence and even in adulthood.

What are the differences between the two conditions and what types of treatment are best?

ADHD

The American Academy of Pediatrics defines Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a condition of the brain that makes it hard for children to control their behavior. Furthermore, children with ADHD have frequent, severe problems that interfere with their ability to live normal lives.

Additionally, ADHD has three subtypes:

  • Inattentive ADHD—Lack of focus, disorganization, and forgetfulness.
  • Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD—Restlessness, impulsive decision-making.
  • Combined Presentation ADHD—A mix of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Children with ADHD have frequent behavior issues that include high activity levels, failing to stay focused long enough to accomplish tasks, and difficulty remaining still for long periods of time.

ADD

On the other hand, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is classified as the inattentive ADHD subtype. Though the term is still used by many parents and teachers, ADD is now an outdated term, as doctors recognize ADD as inattentive ADHD.

Medical News Today explains that “the difference in children with inattentive ADHD is that their lack of ability to focus and pay attention is greater than what is expected for their age.” Children are distracted when focused on tasks, unable to pay attention, unable to organize or manage time, and often lose items needed for daily activity.

The biggest difference between inattentive ADHD and ADHD is that children with inattentive ADHD do not have impulsive or hyper tendencies. Furthermore, children with inattentive ADHD may go undiagnosed because their symptoms may be written off as daydreaming.

Treatment options for ADHD vs ADD

Before creating treatment plans, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends performing ADHD evaluations in any child ages 4-18 who present academic and/or behavioral problems plus symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. This evaluation involves gathering information from parents/guardians, teachers, and other mental health clinicians.

For children with ADD (inattentive ADHD), treatment plans often revolve around medication, behavioral, and psychological interventions. Medication is commonly used to help manage and reduce a child’s inattentive behavior.

Treatment plans for ADHD vary by age.

  • For children ages 4-5—treatment options include first with parent and/or teacher administered behavioral therapy and then methylphenidate if behavioral interventions do not lead to improvement.
  • For children ages 6-11—treatment options include FDA approved medications and parent or teacher-based behavioral therapy.
  • For adolescents ages 12-18—treatment options include FDA approved medications and behavioral therapy.

If you believe your child may be suffering from ADHD, try our free Heads Up Checkup symptom checker.

If your child has a confirmed ADHD diagnosis, it’s important to first create a long-term management plan that serves as ongoing treatment. What should be included in a long-term management plan? From establishing structure and consistent rules in your home to creating good sleeping habits, there are various ways you can help your child and your family deal with the challenges of ADHD. Click here to read our six tips on how you can help your child overcome daily challenges and bring greater calm to your home.

Finally, at Well Street, we believe it is important for your child to receive help from a behavioral health care professional as soon as you suspect your child is suffering from ADHD. When behavioral interventions and/or parent training therapies are used as initial treatment, it might improve ADHD symptoms in both children and teens.

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ADHD vs ADD 2018-02-11T00:28:58+00:00

Parenting the ADHD Child

Parenting a Child with ADHD

If you have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you know how challenging and overwhelming it can be when your child doesn’t listen, finish what was started, or do what was asked. Not to mention, how physically and mentally exhausting it can be to constantly feel like you have to monitor your child. Despite the difficulties ADHD can cause both you and your child, there are some simple strategies that can help control and reduce the symptoms related to ADHD. If you suspect your child may have ADHD, try the free Heads Up Checkup symptom checker. The following tips can help your child overcome daily challenges and bring greater calm to your family.

Establish structure in your home.

Children with ADHD are more likely to complete tasks when the tasks occur in predictable patterns and in predictable places. By creating and sustaining structure in your home, you are helping your child know what to expect and what they are expected to do. The following strategies can help you create and maintain structure at home:

  • Establish simple and predictable rituals for meals, homework, play, and bed. For instance, have your child lay his or her clothing out and his or her school bag packed and placed in the same, accessible spot the night before.
  • Place your child’s schedule in a place that he or she can see.
  • Place clocks and timers throughout the house, especially in your child’s bedroom. A timer can be especially helpful for homework and transitions.  For instance, you can use a timer when you want to transition your child from playtime to bedtime.
  • Make sure your child has a specific, regular place for doing homework, away from distractions.
  • Build lots of regular breaks into homework time.
  • Give your child a special notebook for writing down assignments.
  • Help create a quiet, private space for your child to unwind.
  • Do your best at organizing your home and help your child understand that everything in your home has its own place.
  • Make sure all other caregivers are familiar with your child’s daily routine and everyone adheres to your child’s scheduled routine.

Keep your child busy.

For many children with ADHD, idle time may only exacerbate their symptoms. If this is the case, help keep your child engaged in activities outside of the home that he or she enjoys, such as joining an organized sport, taking an art class, music lessons, or dance.  When home, help your child by organizing activities for him or her, such as helping you cook or bake, playing a game with a sibling, or engaging in an art activity.  Lastly, try to encourage your child to spend time outside.  Recent research has indicated a reduction of ADHD symptoms in children who spend time in nature.  Whatever you do, be mindful of your child to make sure he or she does not feel overwhelmed with all the scheduled activities.

Ensure a proper diet.

All children benefit from healthy, regular meals. Try keeping sodas and foods high in sugar outside of the house. Foods high in sugar can affect your child’s mental state, which in turn can exacerbate hyperactivity in your child. Help create healthy eating habits in your child by scheduling nutritious meals and snacks. It is also helpful to make sure your child eats something nutritious at least every three to four hours, whether that is an apple or granola bar.

Encourage good sleep hygiene.

Lack of sleep makes everyone less attentive than usual. However, it can be even more harmful to a child with ADHD.  Without adequate sleep, your child can become overstimulated and have trouble falling asleep. Below are some approaches you can take to help create better sleep hygiene in your child:

  • Decrease the amount of time your child spends watching television, playing video games, or using a tablet/cell phone. Instead, increase the amount of time your child is engaged in activities and exercises during the day. In fact, it has been shown that exercises lead to better sleep.
  • Eliminate caffeine from your child’s diet.
  • Have your child engage in quieter activities before bedtime, such as drawing or reading.
  • Set a consistent, age-appropriate bedtime for your child and stick with it.
  • Help create a calming bedtime ritual for your child, such as a bath or cuddling.

Establish consistent expectations and rules.

Whatever rules you have as a parent should be clear and easy to understand and follow for your child with ADHD.  When establishing rules, it is helpful to make direct eye contact, give your verbal directions one at a time, and check for understanding. It is also helpful to have the rules written down and placed in a place that is visible to your child. It is also important to establish rewards and consequences and explain what will happen when the rules are followed and when they are broken. Try to stick with the rules and follow through every time with a reward or consequence. Look below for some help in creating a reward and consequence system in your home.

  • Reward your child with privileges, praise, or activities, rather than with food or toys.
  • Change your rewards frequently because children with ADHD get bored if the reward is always the same.
  • Make a chart with points or stars awarded for good behavior, so your child has a visual reminder of his or her successes.  Place this chart next to where you have your rules in the house.
  • Immediate rewards work better than the promise of a future reward, but small rewards leading to a big one can also work.
  • Always follow through with a reward.
  • Consequences should be spelled out in advance and occur immediately after your child has misbehaved.
  • Try time-outs and the removal of privileges as consequences for misbehavior.
  • Remove your child from situations and environments that trigger inappropriate behavior.
  • When your child misbehaves, ask what he or she could have done instead. Then have your child demonstrate it.
  • Always follow through with a consequence.

It’s also important to note that praise and encouragement are really important for children with ADHD because they usually receive complaints about their behaviors.  Simple praise for appropriate behavior or task completion can go a long way for your child with ADHD. Try to be on the lookout for good behavior, even for small achievements that may not be a big deal in your other children.

Stay positive!

Granted this may seem impossible some days. But, keep in mind that you set the stage for your child’s emotional and physical health. You can help positively influence your child’s ADHD symptoms. Below are some tips to help keep you staying positive:

  • Keep in mind that your child’s behaviors are related to his or her disorder. Often times, he or she is not acting out intentionally.
  • Believe that your child can mature, learn, and succeed because with proper help and changes in the house, he or she will.
  • Take care of your self both physically and emotionally. Your stress levels can spill over to other aspects of your life, including your energy and patience. Try to eat right, exercise, and engage in activities that help you wind down.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have help from family members or friends to babysit your child, use it for yourself. Many parents feel guilty about leaving their child, however, you may find that you feel rejuvenated from just stepping away for a short time. Thus, giving you more energy to handle your child’s behaviors.

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Parenting the ADHD Child 2018-02-12T16:18:48+00:00

Talking to Teachers About Your Child’s ADHD

Talking to Teachers About Your Child’s ADHD

Childhood ADHD plays a major role in your child’s education. ADHD children often are inattentive, display hyperactivity, and have difficulty controlling their behavior. That’s why it’s vital that teachers are not only aware of your child’s diagnosis, but help you create plans and strategies so your child can succeed in school and life. If you’re unsure about your child’s symptoms, try the Heads Up Checkup symptom checker for immediate feedback.

When it comes to ADHD children in school, it’s important that you as the parent take the initiative with your child’s teacher so together you can create plans and goals to ensure your child’s academic success.

Below are five things to keep in mind when talking to teachers about your child’s ADHD.

  1. Explain your child’s diagnosis in full, along with their current treatment plan

The more the school and teacher know of your child’s diagnosis and treatments/medications, the better plan you and the teacher can create for your child. Meet with the teacher before the school year and inform him/her of all the necessary information concerning ADHD children. This also includes discussing strategies that have/haven’t worked in the past with your child. In addition to the teacher, reach out to the school and learn what resources (counselors, school professionals, etc.) are available to your child that may be useful in creating your plan.

When creating this plan, set goals and map out what consistent things should be happening both at school and at home to help your child succeed in his/her education. The plan may fluctuate during the year, so it’s important to make sure the teacher is a part of the process and you’re not the only one calling the shots.

  1. Know your resources

In addition to the people resources, there are learning programs in place to help aid students with disabilities, including 504 Plan and Individualized Education Plan. Your child may be eligible for either program. 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure children with disabilities (identified under law) receive the necessary accommodations for academic success and access to the learning environment.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a program that helps children with disabilities (identified under law) receive specialized instruction and related services. Both programs are a great way to ensure that your child is getting the proper accommodations necessary to help them achieve academic success. Be sure to discuss these programs with the teacher and the school to see which one would be best for your child.

  1. Listen

Although you will be doing most of the talking when meeting with the school and teacher, it’s also important that in the meeting you take the time to listen to what the teacher has to say and give them time to ask questions and make suggestions. This skill will also come in handy during the school year if the teacher reaches out to you to discuss your child’s behavior and develop a new plan moving forward.

  1. Remember to stay positive

When discussing your child’s ADHD, it’s important that you take the positive approach and stay in control of your emotions. Remember, the teacher and other school resources want the best for your child, so treat them as an ally and not as an enemy. The better your relationship with the teacher, the better strategies will be in place to help your child succeed both in and outside of the classroom.

  1. Keep in contact and stay involved

After your initial meeting with the teacher, be sure to keep in close contact with the teacher and other school administration. Working as a team will improve your child’s educational experience. Be sure to stay involved by volunteering in the classroom (if possible) and join the PTA. By doing this, you can help create better strategies and plans to help your child succeed in school.

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Talking to Teachers About Your Child’s ADHD 2018-02-11T00:49:31+00:00

Teens and ADHD

Teens and ADHD

What is ADHD? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects over 11% of school-age kids in the United States. Teenagers with ADHD can struggle with attention, focus, hyperactivity, and controlling impulses. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes ADHD as a brain condition that makes controlling impulses and behavior difficult. Symptoms of ADHD are linked to many specific areas of the brain. Teenagers don’t outgrow ADHD, but it is something that can be managed through long-term treatment plans.

Causes of ADHD

There is no single cause of developing ADHD and leading scientists continue to research causes and factors associated with ADHD. However, risk factors for ADHD can incl e: family history, genetics, changes in brain chemistry, traumatic brain injuries and nutrition/diet.

According to CHADD, factors such as low birth weight, prenatal complications, and prenatal maternal smoking can contribute to some cases of ADHD. It’s also important to note that while parenting styles do not cause ADHD, parenting relationships and interactions can either help reduce ADHD symptoms or can make the symptoms worse.

Signs & Symptoms of ADHD in Teens

Some common symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Making careless mistakes
  • Feeling the urge to move
  • Getting distracted easily
  • Forgetfulness
  • Interrupting others when speaking
  • Unable to talk to others calmly
  • Difficulty making or keeping friends
  • Making poor choices that can lead to serious consequences

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in addition to the symptoms above, teens with ADHD typically show the following behavior symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. If you think you might have ADHD, try the Heads Up Checkup symptom checker and get immediate results sent to your email.

ADHD Diagnosis

How are teens diagnosed with ADHD? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends performing an ADHD evaluation in teens who present academic and/or behavioral problems plus symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity. In some cases, rating scales are used as evaluation tools. These various scales assess the symptoms in long and short form evaluations. Often, information will be gathered from your teachers at school, parents, and mental health clinicians during the evaluation process.

Effects of ADHD in Teens and Adolescents

Common struggles in living with ADHD are not only about paying attention in school, but also with making friends, having a messy room, losing things, or feeling isolated.

It’s easy to see the impact of ADHD symptoms at school – poor grades, inattention in class, difficulty sitting still, and missed assignments – but it’s not so easy for others to see some of the other issues you may be dealing with. Many teens report struggling to make friends, remembering important events like a friend’s birthday, and staying organized. Teenagers often have a more difficult time with ADHD symptoms because of an increase in responsibility and expectations. You are expected to be more independent, make good choices for yourself, contribute to household chores, or have an afterschool job – all while getting good grades and making lifelong friends. It’s a lot of pressure.  Many teens struggle with self-esteem, but over 50% of teens with ADHD state that they have low self-esteem and think that they are a burden on their friends and family. They feel broken and unable to do what’s expected of them.

There are other mental health concerns that can go along with ADHD. According to CHADD, up to 60% of children and teens with ADHD have been found to have at least one additional disorder. Some struggle with depression, anxiety, communicating their feelings with friends or family and getting a good night’s sleep. If someone with ADHD feels nagged, harassed, or bullied, they may resort to defiant behaviors known as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or Conduct Disorder (CD). With appropriate treatment, these negative and painful issues can be lessened or controlled completely.

How can we make ADHD work for us?

ADHD does not mean you are broken.  It might mean you have a superpower if you can manage it properly.  Many successful celebrities and athletes like Justin Timberlake, Jim Carey, and Michael Phelps talk openly about their struggles with ADHD as a child and how they were able to channel their energy and focus on their successes.  Behavioral support can help you take your “symptoms” and turn them into valuable skills like:

Drive

Persistence

Motivation

Being great in a crisis

Creativity

An ability to multitask

ADHD Treatment

Although there is no known “cure” for ADHD, good treatment can lessen the negative impacts.  The two most commonly used interventions are:

In behavioral therapy, an individual management plan is made that can include talk therapy, education for parents, and behavioral support to help you turn ADHD into a superpower. You can learn more about different therapy methods here. Medications are often prescribed by physicians to help regulate ADHD symptoms. Some physicians recommend making changes to your diet. Cutting back on caffeine and sugar and replacing those with protein and vegetables are often recommended in addition to behavioral support and medication.

Additional Tips On How Teens Can Cope With ADHD

In addition to maintaining and refining your treatment plan, below are some additional tips for teens with ADHD.

  • Establish a healthy diet. Foods with artificial colors may increase ADHD symptoms. Eliminating junk, fatty, and sugary foods and replacing them with healthier options will give you the natural energy to help you power through the day. It can also help you think more clearly.
  • When you feel stressed out, find ways to incorporate relaxation. From exercising to seeing a movie with friends or reading a good book—do something that will put you in a good mood.
  • When you’re with your friends, whether you’re hanging out or are at school, make an effort to listen, show engagement and not interrupt. This can help strengthen your relationships as well as help you focus on your friends.
  • When driving, eliminate distractions, such as loud music, phones, or even passengers. If possible, try to plan your trips ahead of time and have a general idea of where you’re traveling to.
  • Find a good listener. It’s important that you express yourself in a healthy way to someone who wants to support and help you. From your own family to school counselors and therapists, there are many outlets to choose from.   
  • Get the accommodations you need in school. Tutors can help you stay on track with homework and test preparation as well as give you the extra help you need with a specific subject.
  • Lastly, as mentioned above, find activities/hobbies that you are passionate about and channel your energy into them. Make goals and work towards achieving them.

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Teens and ADHD 2018-02-11T00:59:44+00:00