3 Steps for ADHD Help
By Dr. Jim Forgan
In this post I answer many parents’ pressing question, “What steps should I take to help my child with ADHD/ ADD?” If you do a simple web search about this question it generates an overwhelming amount of information. Many parents I work with don’t know trust much of the information they read on the internet and are skeptical about where to turn for genuine help about ADHD.
Many parents trust their child’s pediatrician since they are grounded in researched based supports. Others trust their child’s psychologist because most psychologists follow best practices for advising parents on treatment options. If you don’t have a psychologist to help guide you, that is where I can offer you support. In my work and practice I give it to you straight so that you can help your son or daughter with their ADHD behaviors. Again, as good hearted and well intentioned parents you may willing to try many different ‘options’ for helping your child with ADHD.
Most parents that work with me have tried vitamins, supplements, special diets, elimination diets, and have consulted with food store staff, read internet blogs, discussed things with friends, and on and on. Testimonials from teacher and friends can be powerful motivators for trying things with your child. But, the question still remains. “What are effective steps for helping my child with ADHD/ADD?”
This question about ADHD does not have a simple answer. Your child is unique, is influenced by you, your family, their peers, environment, and his or her genetics. These factors make the answer to this rather simple question more complex that just a one or two sentence answer. I recommend 3 steps for helping your child.
Step 1, you need a written plan. A template for an ADHD support plan is found in my book, Raising Boys with ADHD. This plan can be used with boys or girls and should be the starting point for you and your child. If you come to work with me for your child and about ADHD then we’ll start with a thorough history. One of the questions I ask you is, “Do you have a written plan for your child with ADHD?” If not, then we’ll create one together.
Think about a child with another health condition such as diabetes. Does this child get diagnosed with diabetes and the parents just sent home with a follow up appointment in three months? In most cases the answer is, “No.” Parents of a child with diabetes are given education, resources, information about diet, medication, and more. Did this type of situation occur when your child was diagnosed with ADHD? My wife and I were given a one page hand scrawled letter and a bill to pay for the ADHD diagnosis. We were on our own to learn and fend for ourselves and boy were we naive about ADHD at the time. We did not understand the life-long implications of ADHD on our son. What we thought may last a few years has extended much longer. Thus, part of my purpose as a professional and fellow parent of a child with ADHD is to help you get an early start at doing good things to help your child with ADHD.
In addition to the plan you create at home, you may also want to work with your child’s school staff to create a plan at school. This plan is either called a 504 Plan or and Individualized Education Program (IEP). They both provide your child with reasonable accommodations. The IEP also provides your child with special education services that will address his or her learning needs. The 504 Plan provides reasonable accommodations for your child with ADHD but no specialized teaching.
After you have a written plan for your child with ADHD then it’s time for step 2. You may find this step a bit surprising but to help your child with ADHD you must work at changing your behavior as well as his or her behavior. Changing any behavior is a process and one that takes time. Consider this, “Is it easier for you to change your behavior or your child’s behavior?” I believe the only behavior that you control is yours. You do not control your child’s behavior. Instead, what you do is influence your child’s behavior. You say or do things that influence her to act a certain way.
Effective parenting for children with ADHD involves knowing which influence you should apply at the right time. Do you and your spouse know the best time to use a positive or negative consequence? How can you gradually shape your child’s behavior so the behavior becomes more adult like rather than impulsive? That’s the next step for effective ADHD help. Parent your child with ADHD so that your influence shapes his or her behavior without the constant yelling and threatening. You may be thinking, “How do I learn to influence my child’s behavior?” I teach techiques for doing this in my Forgan Parent Support System.
Step 3 is to work with or learn from a professional that really understands ADHD and boys or girls with ADHD. You want a person that has been there, done that, and knows how to help you. Don’t settle for ADHD help from someone that has only learned from a textbook or college course. I believe that person does not have enough personal insight to provide meaningful change. You can work with me by using my video based Forgan Parent Support System for boys with ADHD. This is effective ADHD help that is ADHD help from a licensed professional that can walk the ADHD walk and talk the ADHD talk.
Furthermore, my program about ADHD help is going to not go on your or your child’s permanent health record. Many parents believe private pay is a way to protect your family’s privacy and the privacy of your child with ADHD. The Forgan Parent Support System for boys with ADHD is confidential and you watch and learn within the walls of your own home. I created this program to help you and it’s available immediately after you register. Why wait? Your child’s future depends heavily upon your support and the younger you start getting the support the better the outcomes. If, after watching the videos, you find you still need help then contact me and we can arrange a phone or Skype call.
Dr. Forgan is the creator and founder of the Forgan Parent Support System for boys with ADHD. He has the ideal background for helping students and parents because he started his career as a special education teacher. His strategies and recommendations are tried and true based on his years of working with students in the classroom. Prior to earning his Ph.D. from the University of Miami, Dr. Forgan was a teacher of students with learning disabilities and emotional disorders. He knows firsthand how to help struggling learners!