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ADDitude's top ADD/ADHD experts answer readers' questions about parenting children with, and about adults living with, ADD/ADHD.

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Archives: June 2012

posted: Friday June 29th - 1:51am

Show Siblings the Love

How parents of children with ADHD can save neurotypical siblings from getting lost in the special needs shuffle.

When their parents go to teachers' meetings or to Wal-Mart to do a quick shop, Jesse, 9, looks after his bigger brother, Jim, 10, who was diagnosed with ADHD. "I have things to do myself -- homework, chatting with friends, listening to music -- but I love Jim," says Jesse, "so I put those things on the back burner for later." Karen's sister, Amy, has been diagnosed...
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posted: Tuesday June 26th - 11:02am

Hyperfocus — at Your Service

Harness that amazing — but elusive — ADHD ability to tune out distractions and get things done.

What if you could use hyperfocus on command, bend it to your will, own it, make it yours? Is that something you would like and enjoy? It takes a little planning, but the payoff is worth it. The following seven steps are about as close as I've come to finding a magic formula to put my brain into hyperfocus: 1.) Gather all the tools you'll need. Whatever...
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posted: Monday June 25th - 11:57am

Why is an ADHD Diagnosis So Important?

"I heard that 80 to 90 percent of adults with ADHD haven't been diagnosed. I think I might be one of them. Why is a diagnosis so important and what are the downsides of not being evaluated?"

AriTuckman_120x168
An accurate diagnosis guides effective treatment. Until you know what you are dealing with, it's harder to identify the best treatments or strategies. For example, if you are depressed because of your ADHD-based difficulties, addressing the depression won't get to the root of the problem and probably won't lead to lasting solutions. By treating ADHD directly, you will hopefully have less to be depressed about. Treatment...
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posted: Sunday June 17th - 10:14pm

What Does It Take to Get Services?

"My eight-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD, but I was told that the diagnosis isn't enough to get him services. Is the school stalling?"

A diagnosis of ADHD, or any other disability, does not, in and of itself, guarantee services. The standard under the law is that the disability "substantially impairs a major life activity." There are some students with ADHD who don't need services. Furthermore, the diagnosis alone does not indicate which support, services, or accommodations are necessary. Request, in writing, a neuropsychological and educational evaluation of your...
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posted: Sunday June 17th - 4:02pm

Is My Husband Inconsiderate — Or Is It His ADHD Talking?

"My husband has ADHD. He's rude to me, acts up, and sometimes doesn't listen to what I'm saying. Is his ADHD or his personality causing these behaviors?"

MelissaOrlov_120
This is an excellent question posed by many non-ADHD partners as they struggle to understand how ADHD fits into their lives. Here are my suggestions for figuring out where the ADHD stops and personality problems begin: Compare your husband's behaviors to those on the adult ADHD symptom list. The most common symptoms of adult ADHD are: · Fails to pay attention to details · Has difficulty organizing...
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posted: Friday June 15th - 9:12am

Stop Criticizing Me Already!

"I have ADHD, and my husband is angry because I haven't made more progress in managing my symptoms. He criticizes me a lot and tells me he has a right to be angry. What do I do?"

MelissaOrlov_120
One of the destructive myths about anger in a marriage is "My spouse deserves the anger" or has earned it. Spouses use this belief to justify cruel behavior. Though it may be hard, stand up to him, because it's not acceptable to treat you this way. Tell him, "You may be angry with me, but you have to find a constructive way to express it, instead of...
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posted: Monday June 11th - 5:47pm

Married, with ADHD

"My spouse and I both have ADHD. How do we maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses?"

MelissaOrlov_120
First, understand what your respective strengths are. Everyone has them! Take inventory and talk about the special gifts each of you brings to the relationship and how those talents will help you get things done. Then figure out where the gaps are and whether or not these shortcomings can be delegated — for example, hiring a cleaning crew that also organizes clutter. If there's something neither...
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posted: Friday June 8th - 1:13pm

My Husband Won't Open Up

"My husband never talks about problems he is having or things he feels sad about. Is that a sign of ADHD? If I talk about painful things in my life, he listens, but he hardly ever asks how I'm feeling."

MelissaOrlov_120
Being reluctant to bring up problems is not, in itself, a sign of ADHD. Research shows that many men have difficulty broaching emotional topics. Women initiate most conversations about feelings. Practice having constructive conversations about difficult topics. In general, constructive conversations include: > opening softly, not aggressively, and easing into the conversation > describing your thoughts in non-blaming "I" statements > listening carefully (repeat back what you think you...
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posted: Friday June 8th - 10:21am

Denying My Son Recess

"My son's teacher denies him recess every time he acts up in the classroom. Isn't he supposed to have full access to the school curriculum, no matter what his behavior is like? Do I have a case?"

It isn't illegal to deny a student recess when he acts up in the classroom. However, kids with ADHD need exercise to help them focus and calm down. Get documentation about the need for physical activity from your son's doctor, and request, in writing, an immediate IEP or 504 meeting. Ask the school to perform a functional behavioral assessment of your son and to develop a Behavioral...
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posted: Thursday June 7th - 9:20am

My Symptoms Are Worse Postpartum

"I've been diagnosed with ADHD, but my symptoms got worse after I had my baby. Is it possible that the change in hormones altered my brain chemistry?"

Quinn_120
Changes in hormone levels may affect brain neurotransmitters and, perhaps, ADHD symptoms. Estrogen enhances the release of monoamine neurotransmitter (dopamine and serotonin) release into the synapse of the brain. When estrogen levels fall, as they do immediately after birth, dopamine levels decrease, and many women report a worsening of their ADHD symptoms. Discuss any symptoms with your doctor, and decide on a course of treatment, if...
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posted: Tuesday June 5th - 8:01am

Will ADHD Keep Me from Getting Custody of My Kids?

"My wife and I are getting divorced, and I am fighting for custody of our children. She says that I won't win because of my ADHD. What are my chances?"

Many factors go into a court's determination about custody. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibit discrimination of anyone based solely on their disability. In most custody cases, the court will appoint an independent attorney to represent the needs of the children. Putting all other factors aside, you may argue that, based on your ADHD, you are in a...
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posted: Friday June 1st - 9:05am

Child's Tall Tales Drive Away Friends

Q: "My 10-year-old son embellishes his accomplishments to his friends. This doesn't go over well with his peers, and I'm fearful that he won't have any friends."

MicheleNovotni120
Telling tall tales is a sign of wanting more attention and, perhaps, feeling insecure. It's important to point out the consequences of his lies. Help him see that his embellishments are driving people away from him, rather than drawing them to him. I use a strategy called "fact checking" with some of my clients. If I hear something suspicious in a conversation, I ask my young...
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posted: Friday June 1st - 8:29am

ADD Made Me Who I Am

Online she'll always be known as someone with attention deficit. And that's okay with this young woman — she's overcome symptoms and used her experience to learn valuable lessons about herself.

When our kids Google their name, they may find a short article about getting a winning hit in Little League, acting in a high school production of Jekyll & Hyde, or being part of the town cleanup on Earth Day. Imagine searching your name and learning that you are the national poster girl for ADD, with 845 hits to back it up. That's what Molly Zametkin,...
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