Is It Impossible For Your Child To Sit Still And Focus? Do You Feel Like a Broken Record?
Are you frustrated with your child or by the ongoing calls and reports from teachers saying that your child is not doing what he or she is being asked to do? Does your child have difficulties paying attention? Seem unable to sit still, struggle with follow-through, or need a lot of motor stimulation and movement? Have these behavioral issues – which you may have excused as part of a developmental stage in the past – started to affect your child’s ability to function normally at home and in school? Are you perpetually exhausted and feel like you sound like a broken record from the all reminders you need to give your child? Do you sometimes wonder if you’re doing something wrong as a parent? Do you wish that you had a workable strategy to help your child focus and stay on task?
Determining if your child truly has attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, if so, figuring out how to help them manage their symptoms can be a challenging and frustrating experience. You may be struggling to understand why your child behaves and learns differently or why he or she can’t seem to complete simple tasks. It’s not that your child is less intelligent than other children, which is a common misconception of people with ADHD. Rather, for children with ADHD, the executive functioning of the brain – the organization center – is not operating optimally. If your child has ADHD – which BPS can help determine – there is a biological reason for your child’s struggles.
You And Your Child Are Not Alone
In every classroom there are children who struggle a little more than others. For some, the root cause of their difficulties is ADHD, which is biologically based and no one’s fault. The best thing that you can do for your child – and yourself – is to seek a comprehensive evaluation. It’s important that you rule out other possibilities, such as other learning disabilities, anxiety or depression, which can have similar symptoms. If your child truly does have ADHD, there are many tools and strategies that can help them cope effectively and develop skills to be more focused and complete routine tasks.
The BPS Staff Can Help
First, getting that true diagnosis can provide an immediate sense of relief. As a parent, you’ll finally know and understand what’s going on with your child. For more information on comprehensive evaluations for ADHD and other learning issues, contact Dr. Jan Hittelman, BPS Director. In addition to being a licensed psychologist, Dr. Hittelman is an experienced school psychologist and has evaluated hundreds of children over his career.
Second, therapy can be extremely effective in helping children with ADHD and their families. Your BPS therapist will access your child’s behaviors and symptoms and suggest behavioral modification strategies that your child can use at home and in school to help them cope. And, you’ll get help creating an external structure for your child – which is critical for children with ADHD. Specific structures can help him or her develop better systems to organize, stay focused and retrieve memory.
If these tactics are not leading to noticeable improvements, your therapist may suggest having your child meet with a psychiatrist to determine if medication may be helpful. It’s important to understand that your child’s difficulties may not be due to his or her not wanting to participate in or complete tasks. If something is biologically wrong, the executive functioning of the brain may not be operating correctly, making it extremely challenging for your child to organize, focus, and/or remember things. If medication is prescribed, your child may experience dramatic improvements in their ability to function normally.The combination of therapy or coaching and medication has been shown to yield the best results.
Your BPS therapist can also help your child work through the self-esteem, academic, social and family issues that living with ADHD symptoms can create. Your BPS therapist can also help you develop strategies to support your child’s learning and how he or she interacts with the world. ADHD is pervasive – meaning it’s ongoing – and you and your child may need new strategies to adapt as he or she continues to grow and develop. Addressing your child’s ADHD now and getting support, tools, and guidance from a qualified and experienced BPS therapist can get you well prepared for the future. Rather than expecting and accepting struggle as the norm, you and your child can move into his or her future feeling prepared and positive.
But you still may have questions or concerns…
I’m worried that an ADHD diagnosis will mean medication and that my child will need to be on meds for the rest of his or her life.
The fear of your child being diagnosed with ADHD and being put on medication for the long-term is an understandable and very common fear. But, sometimes the diagnosis and understanding that something is biologically unbalanced can provide relief. At least you’ll know what’s going on with your child and understand why all your previous attempts at helping him or her feel and function more normally have failed.
There is a lot that can be done to help your child that does not include medication, such as behavior modification strategies. If medication is needed, however, your child’s psychiatrist will be able to help you find the right medication and dosage. Many children with ADHD have experienced dramatic, positive results from medication.
I think that my child could really benefit from therapy and other outside resources, but I’m concerned about costs.
This is your child’s life and wellbeing. Addressing your child’s ADHD issues now may prevent a host of problems from occurring as he or she enters new developmental stages, such as adolescence. Investing in their mental and emotional health and ability to function now can lead to immediate improvements. It can also keep symptoms from getting worse and interfering with all aspects of their development – including academic – as they get older.
Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with children’s ADHD issues or who they or their child couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct an initial assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced to treat ADHD issues and whose personality is a good match for you and your child. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to your child, yourself and your family may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine everyone in your home feeling and functioning better now and in the long-term on a regular basis and ask yourself what that’s worth.
If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.
I think that my child has ADHD, but I’m afraid of a diagnosis and the stigma that the label carries. I don’t want my child to be viewed as different.
First, it’s so important that you understand your child and his or her uniqueness. An expert can help you determine if your suspicion is correct – if your child’s behaviors fall outside of the range of normal and if he or she could really benefit from outside, expert help or medication. It’s not the label, but the needs of your child that is the big issue here. And, if you don’t focus on the label, then your child will be less likely to do so.
Also, there are countless other children who have ADHD and have benefited from outside help. It’s a commonly understood diagnosis, and that “label” may help your child qualify for extra resources in school. With help and medication, if it’s prescribed, children with ADHD can function better now and throughout their entire lives.
We encourage you to schedule an initial assessment with Dr. Jan Hittelman. Jan will work with you to determine what your child’s specific issues are, if additional psychological testing is warranted, and ensure a good match between you, your child and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you and your child with a therapist who has expertise working with children and ADHD issues.