How Parents Can Support ADD/ADHD Children and Teens
- Acknowledge the problem. Julia's ADD/ADHD was diagnosed when she was in second grade and her treatment plan included medication. The Filegis followed her doctor's orders and learned more about ADD/ADHD.
- Seek outside support. When Julia struggled academically, her parents responded immediately. They gave her six sessions with a study-skills tutor.
- Find compassionate educators. The Filegis visited lots of high schools and interviewed teachers and administrators to make sure that the school would be a good fit for Julia.
- Follow-through at home. The Filegis gave Julia a handheld, white dry-erase board and a small chalkboard. On the whiteboard, she wrote her assignments, in the order of her classes for the next day. On the chalkboard, she worked through the steps of her math problems. To help Julia think of herself as a serious student, Jim and Irene had her write on the boards as she sat in front of a mirror.
- Provide a loving environment. Despite their busy schedules, the Filegis eat dinner together most nights. "We provided the quiet time and space she needed," says Jim. "And we do a lot of things together as a family." The Filegis also volunteer at Julia's school and at her extracurricular pursuits.
- Set a good example. The Filegis are active in church, and they are community volunteers. "Julia once chose to volunteer with a group of kids who were mentally challenged, when other volunteers avoided them," says Jim, proudly. Julia speaks of her father's overcoming ADD/ADHD challenges to become a doctor, and of her mom's decision to return to college as an adult.
- Teach values. Faith and family traditions keep the Filegis close. Says Irene, "Julia sees how some other girls dress and the way they treat their parents, and she doesn't want to be like that. She's respectful and willing to take our advice and learn from our experiences."
- Never give up. "Things haven't come easily," says Irene. "We never thought we would be where we are today."
Names have been changed.