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When your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, taking the next steps to decide how to best approach treating this as a family can be overwhelming. While perhaps there can be some relief in the definitive diagnosis, the amount of information that’s available to you, and the debates surrounding the types of treatment can make reaching a decision very difficult. In the post today, I want to review the two most popular forms of treatment for ADHD to try and simplify this process a little for you.
Behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that would try to assist your child in modifying his or her behavior, and is a common therapy utilized by therapists when working with children who have ADHD. An additional goal of behavioral therapy, aside from working to change behaviors, is teaching a child how to monitor himself/herself as a way of increasing self-awareness. The reason that this form of therapy is favored is that it gives your child a toolbox of skills to use, so that they can work on their impulsivity, concentration skills, presentation in social settings, and emotional responses. The National Institute of Mental Health (2012), says that “Parents and teachers also can give positive and negative feedback for certain behaviors” and recommends “structured routines” for children with ADHD as well. Behavior therapy is also meant to equip parents to help your child become successful.
The other prominent tool used for treating ADHD is medication. Medication is never an easy decision, but if your child still struggles with poor focus and distractibility even after behavioral therapy, it may be an option worth considering. Medically treating a child for ADHD doesn’t remove the behavioral issues the child is dealing with or take the place of therapy. It simply allows the child to self-regulate and enables them to use the skills they are learning in therapy. Whether medication is right for your child or not depends on the severity of his or her symptoms, risks vs. benefits, and ultimately your child’s doctors’ recommendations.
While receiving a diagnosis can certainly cause fear at first, it is an important first step in helping your child become successful. ADHD is a complex disorder, but a highly treatable one. Being educated about your options will help you make the best choices for your child and help them down the road to build better relationships, achieve better grades, and overall have a better quality of life.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (n.d.) Retrieved May 7, 2015, from: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/index.shtml?rf=71264