Orlando ADHD Counseling Expert Jim West answers 5 Questions about ADHD Symptoms and Alternative Treatments to Medication
“You need to put your kids on Ritalin!” “You do not discipline your kids enough!” “He never comes to class prepared!” “Why don’t you make her do her homework!” “He’s all over the classroom!” “She’s is a daze and doesn’t cause any behavior problems but never completes her classwork!”
Does this sound like the messages you hear from teachers, grandparents and friends? If so maybe some of the information below will help you determine if your child has ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).”
Watch ADHD Expert Jim West on Fox 35 below with Heidi Hatch for more information.
1. What are they symptoms of ADHD?
Inattention, Hyperactivity and Impulsivity are the 3 main subtypes of ADHD.
Inattentive Subtype (to Meet the Inattentive type your student needs to meet 6 or more of these symptoms):
* Does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
* Trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
* Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
* Does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
* Trouble organizing activities.
* Avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
* Loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
* Is often easily distracted.
* Is often forgetful in daily activities.
Hyperactive/Impulsive Subtype (to Meet the Hyperactive/Impulsive type your student needs to meet 6 or more of these symptoms):
* Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
* Gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
* Runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
* Trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
* Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
* Talks excessively.
* Blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
* Trouble waiting one’s turn.
* Interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
* Combined Subtype – Inattentive/Hyperactive/Impulsive
2. Should you go to your regular physician for a diagnosis or someone else?
Some Pediatricians will send a Conners Checklists or Behavioral Checklist to the school to review to diagnose and some Pediatricians refer to a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
3. What are the treatment options?
95% of kids respond to the innate parenting skills but ADHD kids are in the other 5%. So they need a different approach.
* Parent Coaching is very important.
* Positive Reinforcement is important as well as they typically get so much negative attention.
* Frequent Positive Feedback: – So we need to catch them doing well even if they sit still for 60 seconds or stay in their seat for 2 minutes we need to say “Thank you for staying in their seat.”
* Quick Consequences: Long term consequences are ineffective – “You’re grounded for a week. . . Okay you got two weeks . . . Do you want to go for 3 weeks?” A five minute time out is like an hour to an ADHD student and a week is
like a year! Not many parents would restrict their kids for a year. So to resolve conflict we use the AHC plan: Apologize – How can I Make it Up to you by doing a chore! – Consequence or Chore – “If I do this again I will do an additional chore for you.” Once they Apologize and Make it up they can resume their privileges.
* Social Skills Groups/Training: For those that have social and emotional delays, experiential Leadership/Social Skills groups, Day Camps, Summer Camp programs are helpful in helping close the social emotional gap for ADHD students.
4. Do I have to put my child on medication?
ADHD is a Neurobiological disorder so something
needs to be done about this. However, 85% of the clients that come to my office do not need the medication for ADHD. Kids with ADHD crave carbohydrates and so often times by increasing their protein to carb ratio. Additionally, several studies have found the carbohydrates effect focus and mood regulation. Additionally, these studies have found deficiencies (Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc and Omega 3) as a result of the carb intake. So often talking to their doctor about increasing their protein to carb ration like the PACE diet or Zone Diet along with including the above supplements can make a difference. If Parent Coaching, Social Skills groups and changing around their diet does not work then a consultation with a psychiatrist or pediatrician that prescribes medication is recommended. Continue the PACE or Zone diet will cause considerably less side effects.
5. Will their learning skills improve with treatment?
Yes with an ADHD specialist providing treatment and addressing the neurobiological issues can improve their ability to focus, complete their homework, reading, classwork and projects. 60% of ADHD student do have some type of learning disability so a psychological evaluation is important to assess and get the proper treatment for these services as well.
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