ADHD Is an Around-the-Clock Concern

From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 19, 2001 -- Having a child with ADHD can be difficult but also very rewarding. A new survey highlights the all-day problems that parents and children deal with, and experts offer tips on the best ways to help your child cope with daily life.

A survey of more than 500 parents from the New York University Child Study Center showed that children with ADHD have to deal with much more than just school problems. Compared to parents of children without ADHD, parents of kids with ADHD reported that their children were nearly three-times more likely to have difficulty getting along with other kids in the neighborhood.

Plus, the kids with ADHD were more than twice as likely to be picked on and less likely to have many good friends, according to the parents.

"ADHD is not just a school-day disorder; it is an all-day disorder," said Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, in a news release. "In addition to its proven impact on academic performance, ADHD also affects how children get along with family and friends, complete homework assignments, and participate in after-school activities," says the director of the New York University Child Study Center.

The survey also pointed to some parental weak spots that could use some improvement:

  • Nearly half of the parents who had children with ADHD said that behavior therapy had been recommended for their kids, where youngsters are taught to manage their attention problems by altering their behavior. But only 21% reported that their child actually participated in behavior therapy.
  • Nearly nine in ten of these parents said that their children had been given medication to treat the ADHD, but only about half of these kids were currently taking anything.

Nearly all these parents feared their children wouldn't receive the right dose of medicine at school. That might help to explain why so few of the kids with ADHD were getting regular medication.

ADHD, which affects about 3% to 5% of school-age children in the U.S., can have a significant impact on parents and children's lives. So, experts at the child study center offer the following 10 tips to help parents and children deal with the day-to-day problems that arise with living with ADHD:

  • Work with your child to create a plan. Be aware of how ADHD can affect your child's life. Target each event -- homework, fun, and family -- then work with him or her to stay on track.
  • Maintain a regular schedule. Work with your child to follow a consistent plan at home, in school, after school, and on weekends.
  • Build a support team that includes parents, teachers, instructors, and coaches. Talk with them about how ADHD affects your child's life. Discuss successes and work together on the challenges.
  • Encourage participation in after-school activities. Look for structured activities that use energy constructively and build social skills to bring success in and out of school.
  • Manage ADHD for the long-term. Work with your doctor to develop a total treatment program. To help your child stay focused all day, use techniques to help them modify their behavior and medications recommended by a doctor that work all day long and don't require frequent doses.
  • Ease the strain of ADHD. Keep routines fun and take breaks when times get tough to help relieve the stress of ADHD.
  • Recognize EVERY win. Review your child's progress regularly and celebrate accomplishments, small and large.
  • Use available resources. Take time to teach your child how to use calendars, organizers, and written reminders to help him or her stay focused all through the day.
  • Evaluate their personal strengths and weaknesses. Managing ADHD requires discipline, a positive attitude, and good planning skills.
  • Understand the challenges of ADHD. Know that ADHD is a medical problem that makes it more difficult to control behavior and attention.