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ADHD: It Can Run in the Family

A child's ADHD diagnosis is often the key to helping parents realize they could have the condition, too.

Getting Organized When ADHD Runs in the Family

When ADHD hits home and more than one person under your roof has been diagnosed with the disorder, it's time to get your family's life under control. Ratey, who also is an ADHD coach, and past president of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, offers these tips for families living with ADHD:

  • Create a family calendar. And live by it. The family calendar is the foundation of your structure, helping to keep everyone with ADHD -- and everyone without it -- focused on what needs to be done.
  • Clean out the clutter. Clutter equals distractions, so get rid of it. Clean out your office, your kitchen, your den -- anywhere the family spends a lot of time. That way, when you're home, you can relax and focus.
  • Organize everything. When you're done cleaning the clutter, organize what's left so you know where things are and can find them quickly.
  • Use to-do lists. Family members living with ADHD should treat each other as partners. One person can create a to-do list for the day, and the other can take charge of crossing off tasks.
  • Be realistic. When you create your to-do list, aim at a reasonable level. Pick two or three things every day that you can concentrate on, not eight or nine, so you can enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishment when everything gets done.

Remember: You're going to forget. If you forget to do something, or you lose focus and get off track, don't dwell on it -- just pick up where you left off and start going in the right direction again.

Originally published in the September/October 2007 issue of WebMD the Magazine.

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Reviewed on July 30, 2007

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