For more than 30 years, scientists have examined the relationship between food coloring and hyperactive behavior in children, but with mixed results. To date, no conclusive evidence has been found to show that food coloring causes ADHD. Some studies, though, have suggested an association between the two. Most likely, ADHD is caused by the combination of changes in brain structure, environmental factors, and heredity.
If your child is diagnosed, his doctor may prescribe medication to improve his ability to concentrate.
Usually, a combination of medicine and therapy works best.
Behavior therapy also teaches you some parenting tactics, such as:
Set up a system of rewards for good behavior.
Withhold privileges or take away rewards to deal with unwanted behavior.
Parents, teachers, and counselors can use these methods to help children with inattentive ADHD stay on track:
Make to-do lists. Create lists of homework and household chores, and post them in places where your child can easily see them.
"Bite-size" projects. Break down projects and requests into small tasks. Instead of saying, "Do your homework," you might say, "Finish your math sheet. Then read one chapter of your English book. Finally, write one paragraph describing what you read."
Give clear instructions. Make them simple, and easy to understand.
Organize. Make sure your child's clothes and schoolwork are always in the same place and easy to find.
Get into a routine. A sense of order helps inattentive children stay focused. Follow the same schedule every day -- “get dressed, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, put on your coat.” Post the schedule in a central place, such as the kitchen or main hallway of your house.
Cut down on distractions. Turn off the TV, computer, radio, and video games as much as possible at home. Ask the teacher to seat your child away from the windows and doors in class.
Give rewards. Everyone likes praise for a job well-done. When the homework is finished on time, or the bedroom gets picked up, let your child know you noticed. You might offer to take them on a trip to the zoo or go out for frozen yogurt.