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ADHD in Children Health Center

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When It's Not Just ADHD

Oppositional Defiant Disorder continued...

"Punishment is not a very effective way to get kids with ADHD to do what they're supposed to do," she says. "If you have ADHD and you are ruled by your impulses, you're not thinking, 'If I do this, I'm going to get into trouble.'"

ADHD medication may help improve symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, Vitiello says. But "parent training" can also help, especially for parents who rely on punishments. "You'll learn to recognize and nurture your child's strengths," Hughes says.

Ask your doctor where you might find local classes or coaches who can help. Also, check the CHADD web site.

Learning Disabilities

Classic ADHD symptoms can make it harder for some children to learn. When they're fidgeting, talking, or walking around the classroom, they can't focus on their work. Others have learning disabilities or language disorders that make it even harder for them to keep up at school.

"A child with dyslexia has a hard time reading," Vitiello says. "Therefore, he will be very slow in completing tasks related to written language. He'll be inattentive in class, because he wouldn't be able to follow what the other children are doing."

If your child gets diagnosed with a learning disability, your doctor may recommend a specialist called an educational therapist.

With any condition, you’re your child’s best supporter. See what resources are available. Check with the school to see if it can make classroom accommodations or offer free therapy that can help your child succeed.

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Reviewed on April 19, 2015

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