Supporting Your Child With ADHD
If your child is struggling to manage their ADHD, here are some ways you can support them and places you can get help.
How can I help my child?
About one in three people diagnosed with ADHD as a child, will grow out of the condition and not require any treatment as adults. Those who receive specialist treatment tailored to their needs, often see the benefits in their learning, friendships, employability and life skills as they understand how best to cope and adapt.
ADHD diagnosis requires a specialist (child psychiatrist or paediatrician) assessment. This involves recognising patterns of behaviour - observing your child, obtaining reports of their behaviour at home and at school, sometimes using computerised tests. These can then inform an effective treatment plan so that your child can achieve their full potential.
These are things that can really make a difference:
- Go to the GP or school if you are worried that your child may have ADHD. A diagnosis can help you move forwards.
- ADHD is a whole-family issue. Make sure that all family members understand what is going on, normalise it, and try keep a balance of attention in the family.
- Avoid giving your child with ADHD the ‘bad reputation’ in the family.
- It is important to maintain boundaries and discipline and not put up with bad behaviour, like disobedience, swearing or violence.
- Ensure you help your child live a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular activity and sleep routines.
- Give your child simple instructions – get close, look at them, talk slowly and calmly.
- Praise your child when they have done what is required, however small (but be careful not to overpraise).
- Write helpful lists and post them up somewhere visible (fridge/backdoor).
- Break up necessary sit-down times such as meals and homework into smaller, manageable chunks, say 15-20 minutes.
- Avoid food additives and colourings; there is some evidence that children with ADHD are particularly sensitive to these. Discuss this with a GP or dietician if you are unsure.
- Find out about local parenting programmes and support groups – these can really help.
Where can I get help?
ADDISS (The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service)
- Provides information and resources about ADHD and the variety of approaches that can help including behavioural therapy, medication, individual counselling, and special education provision.
- Phone: 020 8952 2800 (office hours)
- Email: [email protected]
- Helps hyperactive/ADHD children and their families, providing information particularly regarding hyperactivity and diet.
- Phone: 01243 539966 (Mon - Fri 14:30-16:30)
- Email: [email protected]
- Lists of local services for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
- A website where you can hear about other parents’ experiences and find clear, helpful guidance on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.