Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD (cont.)

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What should I do if I am concerned that my child might have ADHD?

Many of the symptoms of ADHD are also symptoms seen during normal childhood and development, and exhibiting one or more of the symptoms does not mean that a child has ADHD. In particular, the symptoms of ADHD are very common in toddlers and preschool children, so it can very hard to differentiate ADHD behaviors from normal developmental behaviors in young children. For this reason, the diagnosis of ADHD is more difficult in preschool children than in early school-aged children.

It is also important to note that for a health care professional to make a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms must have been present for at least six months in more than one setting (for example, home, school and/or in the community), usually beginning younger than 7 years of age, and the symptoms must be inconsistent with the developmental level of the child and severe enough to interfere with the child's social or academic functioning.

If you are concerned about your child's behavior, it is appropriate to communicate this to your child's primary health care professional. He or she can help you determine whether further evaluation may be necessary and whether your child's behavioral symptoms are suggestive of ADHD. If a formal evaluation is indicated, this evaluation will involve professionals from various disciplines to provide a comprehensive medical, developmental, educational, and psychosocial evaluation.

What are some behavioral treatments and parenting strategies for parents of children with ADHD?

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Think positively

While ADHD can certainly present unique and sometimes what can seem to be daunting challenges, being able to sincerely know and have confidence in your child's strengths can go a long way to help him or her be the very best person they can be. Many famous, accomplished, indeed brilliant people of the past and present have ADHD. An outstanding example of learning to have a positive outlook about ADHD is demonstrated in the children's movie called Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. In that movie, Percy tends to see himself as disadvantaged because he has ADHD and a learning disability. However, it is the very tendency those conditions have to cause him to be able to notice many things at once and to read differently that are important assets to him in a variety of adventures.

Another benefit to thinking positively about your child with ADHD is the infectious nature of positive thinking. It is much easier for the child's teacher, coaches, peers and in fact the child him- or herself to accept and harness strengths when the parent communicates and emphasizes those strengths. The challenge for parenting a child with ADHD is to be able to use the child's unique gifts and address his or her challenges to work toward achieving their child's fullest potential.

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Parenting a Child with ADHD - Symptoms Question: Describe the symptoms associated with your child's ADHD.
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Strategies Question: Please provide some tips and strategies that have been helpful in parenting a child with ADHD.
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Success Question: In what areas does your child with ADHD excel? How did you help your child find his/her passion?
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Distractions Question: How have you dealt with or eliminated distractions for your child with ADHD?
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Healthy Lifestyle Question: Please discuss how you changed your child's diet or lifestyle to manage symptoms of ADHD.
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Caring for Yourself Question: Parenting a child with ADHD can be challenging. In what ways do you find time for yourself?