Understand ADHD To Find a Path Forward For Children, Families

By: Dr. James Norcross

Throughout my career, I have witnessed many families seeking guidance about lack of focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in their children. These behaviors can be related to age or maturity but can also be linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD.

Often, children showing signs of ADHD will experience difficulty paying attention, staying on task, and keeping themselves organized. ADHD may even impact a child’s social interaction and cause them to struggle in school or social situations.

A common misconception we hear is that ADHD results from a lack of discipline.

At Children’s Health and UT Southwestern Medical Center, we want to encourage and empower families to advocate for their children and seek help and treatment from a medical professional.

So, what should families expect when they consult with a physician? First, the child will undergo an evaluation. This consists of the child and parents talking with a doctor about their concerns and may include rating forms for parents and teachers to complete.

If there are concerns about learning differences, further assessment by a psychologist may be recommended.

After an ADHD diagnosis, families should work with their healthcare providers to become educated about the condition and find reputable resources to support the child’s ongoing care.

We work with families to develop individualized and comprehensive treatment plans. Sometimes, medication management will be recommended after discussing benefits and any concerns.

Counseling services or behavioral management may be suggested.

At home, predictability and structure are important. Consistent routines and healthy sleep schedules can help mitigate symptoms; limiting screen exposure, prioritizing time outdoors, and staying active are also great strategies.

Children with ADHD may find educational environments particularly challenging due to the overstimulation. Under the ADA, schools are required to help accommodate children with ADHD, and families can advocate for their children by working with schools to make necessary accommodations.

Classroom accommodations are typically split into two categories: behavioral classroom management and organization training, and can utilize tools such as color-coded notebooks, fidget devices, checklists, reward systems, and timers.

Supporting a child with ADHD looks unique in every case, and I want to assure families, caregivers, and children with ADHD that it is not a roadblock to success, just a different path.

Dr. James Norcross is a pediatric psychologist and division director at Children’s Health and a professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.