As parents and students gear up for the back to school routine, many are considering whether to resume the medication regimen or consider other options.
There is no doubt that in many cases prescription intervention for ADHD seems less choice than mandate. In these cases, even considering other options seems tantamount to setting children up for school failure. In other cases parents and students have a little wiggle room. If you are on the fence here are some ideas to try and things to consider before you head to the pharmacy.
Parent, Teacher, Student Team meetings
Schedule a meeting of all potentially impacted players (this includes students if they are old enough to thoughtfully participate in the discussion). Outline past challenges, establish behavioral goals and brainstorm possible solutions. It will be important here to leave no stone unturned. Explore even those options that seem silly at first. Someone else participating in the discussion may be able to tweak the idea so that it works. Try your idea for a couple of weeks, then get back together to make adjustments or changes as necessary.
It is important to maintain regular contact with teachers to share ideas and offer encouragement. Parenting children with ADHD is challenging. Teaching children with ADHD is challenging, too. Teachers need support and encouragement from parents.
Some of these include dietary changes (such as switching to the Feingold diet), herbal remedies, frequent positive intervention and biofeedback.
Strive to Understand and Educate Teachers/Caregivers about ADHD
It is easier to adopt a supportive, realistic approach to managing ADHD when you understand what it is and how it impacts your child’s behavior (hint: children aren’t usually just trying to be difficult or annoying).
Understand Medication Options
If you choose the medication route, avoid choosing a prescription remedy based on a commercial or advertisement. Do some research. Talk with your child’s pediatrician, visit related websites and read the fine print. Many medications for ADHD have several pros as well as cons. You must weigh both carefully as you decide.
Keep a Journal
Whether you do or do not take the medication route, keeping a journal can be helpful. Your journal can help you identify patterns or triggers that highlight the information you need to develop a successful behavior modification plan. If you have decided on medication, a journal can help you keep track of any behavioral changes (good or bad) and make it easier to talk with the doctor about concerns and improvements.
Finally, no matter what it looks like parents and teachers of children with ADHD should remember that children want to be successful. No child wants to constantly find him or herself on the receiving end of another’s frustration or disapproval. Being compassionate helps adults look for and implement creative solutions for kids with ADHD.
Have a great school year!