Summer is that time every kid looks forward to. It is the “light at end of the tunnel” of a long school year. It is a time to “let loose” and have a great time. For kids with ADHD this is a big change. The day to day structure goes away, the daily routine is gone.
In just a few days or weeks, this long anticipated break can become a potential nightmare for kids with ADHD. It becomes a time when these kids are going around whining and saying, “I’m bored.” They come in complaining about an argument with peers or they are tormenting their siblings.
With a little planning ahead these and many other events can be avoided. Kids with ADHD still need structure, although it can be more relaxed than during the school year. Use a calendar that shows upcoming activities. Make a collage of things they can do when there is no planned activity (like games, toys, books, etc) and tell them when they are bored they need to check it and select an activity and do it.
Plan intermittent structured activities such as day camp, vacation Bible school, various recreation programs (like tennislessons, swimming lessons, computer workshop or drama club and summer sports leagues) provided by schools, churches, and community recreation departments.
Think about summer camp. If decide this is a good idea, make sure the camp can handle ADHD kids and are willing to administer medications if your child takes them during the summer. Check out the list of Summer Camp Programs from CHADD which provide structure, fun and skill building. For other possible camp suggestions please visit the American Camp Association website.
Make this family fun time. When parents get home from work, devote a half hour or so to play time. Play around your home; go to a park or some other fun spot. Have a family game night or movie night. Enjoy a hobby together. Check out the Family Activities page from our main website for more suggestions.
No matter what the situation, you can make it enjoyable and productive for your ADHD child by thinking ahead and providing a little guidance and structure to curb impulsivity and teach them how to create their own fun time.
For the parents of a child with ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, everyday tasks turn into battles—from getting the child out the door in the morning to getting him to bed at night. My son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6, so I remember what it was like to have a daily tug of war with an attention disordered child all too well. Parents look for help everywhere. They may read one book after another and hear a parade of behavioral experts speak who give them parenting tips that don’t seem to work. The more books they read and experts they seek out, the worse their child’s behavior seems to get.
“ADHD is a ‘brain difference.’ Your child’s brain works differently than 95% of his peers. So ‘one size fits all’ parenting techniques won’t necessarily fit your child.”
In my practice and in my work with my own son, I discovered a number of techniques and strategies that can help parents of children with ADHD improve behavior. Here are 8 Secrets I have learned that can help parents improve their child’s behavior and school achievement:
I often joke that kids with ADHD would make great politicians or lawyers, because they never give up a fight! Trying to cope with a child who argues at the drop of a hat can test the patience of any sane person. Not surprisingly, over the years many parents have asked me what they can do to make the arguing stop. What you can do is help your children turn their ability to argue into a positive trait rather than a negative one.
Here’s a way to understand what’s happening in your ADHD child’s brain: Many experiences of kids with ADHD are amplified or more intense than those of average kids. So when the word “No” is heard by a child with ADHD, it registers a “10” on their emotional scale while it probably would be a “5” or less for the average kid. Quite a few of them also have a lower-than-average tolerance for any departure from what they consider to be fair, whether it’s rules for a game or requests for doing something around the house. Added to this is the fact that most of these kids are also not known for their patience or low-volume voices! Continue reading →
I have long believed that behavioral therapy is the key to helping kids with ADHD. In fact, a new study on ADHD said that comprehensive behavioral therapy works as well as medication over the long haul. Also, earlier studies showed that after 14 months, 30% of the behavioral therapy group did just as well as those with medication. Of course, there are no side effects to behavioral therapy—except, perhaps, much happier parents and kids.
The results of this research show that 3 years from the start of the study, there was no difference in the amount of improvement between four different treatment methods. Three of the methods used medication alone or in combination with behavioral therapy, one used behavior therapy only. All four groups demonstrated significant improvement in symptoms, but the amount of improvement was the same for all of them. The research also showed slight reduction in predicted height and weight for those taking medication. I developed The Total Focus Program, after having worked with kids with ADHD for more than 20 years and parenting my own son with ADHD.
I think it works because it’s a comprehensive behavioral intervention package that helps both parents and kids learn to not only cope with ADHD, but to overcome it. The format makes it easier for parents and kids to work on getting the help they need into their busy schedules
Teenagers, especially boys, begin talking about driving by the time they’re 15. In some states, a Learner’s Permit is available at 15 and a driver’s license at 16. Statistics show that 16-year-old drivers have more accidents per driving mile than any other age. Generally, about 20 percent of fatal speed-related crashes are caused by drivers between the age of 15 and 19. (More than half of those annual fatalities could be prevented by wearing seatbelts.)
Youth with ADHD or ADD, in their first 2 to 5 years of driving, have nearly four times as many automobile accidents, are more likely to cause bodily injury in accidents, and have three times as many citations for speeding as young drivers without ADHD.
I think it’s also important to keep in mind that developmentally, your teen with ADHD or ADD may be 2 to 3 years behind his peers in terms of brain development. Keep this in mind when deciding whether or not he will be able to use the car. (You may even decide to hold off for a couple of years until your child demonstrates his readiness to drive.)
(Hear Dr. Bob talk more about this in his recent podcast)
Most states, after looking at the statistics for automobile accidents involving teenage drivers, have begun to use a Graduated Driver Licensing system (GDL). This system eases young drivers onto the roads by a slow progression of exposure to more difficult driving experiences. The program, as developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, consists of three stages: Learner’s Permit, Intermediate (provisional) License, and full licensure. Drivers must demonstrate responsible driving behavior at each stage before advancing to the next level.
During the Learner’s Permit stage, a licensed adult must be in the car at all times. This period of time will give the learner a chance to practice, practice, practice. The more your child drives, the more efficient he or she will become. The sense of accomplishment the teenager with ADHD will feel when the coveted license is finally in his or her hands will make all the time and effort involved worthwhile.
More Helpful Information:
(This can also be ordered from NHTSA Headquarters, Traffic Safety Programs, ATTN: NTS-32, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590)