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

posted: Thursday February 12th - 11:55am

Managing My Child's School Behavior Problems

My child has behavior problems in school. He always talks to another child while the teacher is talking and he gets out of his seat while kids are doing desk work. Can I work with the teacher to manage these behaviors, or should I request an IEP or a 504 Plan?

SusanYellinHeadshot_120x131
Work with your child's teacher to monitor and manage these behaviors. For example, it would be helpful to know if these occur more often at a particular time of day, or if he is always talking to one student in particular. Talk with the teacher to develop strategies for managing these behaviors. Strategies may include giving your child legitimate reasons to leave his seat (handing out...
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posted: Thursday February 12th - 11:44am

How Do I Change My Child's IEP?

I came up with what I thought was an effective accommodation for my daughter at a 504 Plan meeting, but after a month, I realized that it wasn't helping her. How can I swap this out for something that would work better?

SusanYellinHeadshot_120x131
You can request changes to an IEP or a 504 Plan if something is not working. How you do this depends on the nature of the change you want to make. If it is a small, classroom-based accommodation, to be implemented by the teacher, you should speak to the teacher and, if he or she agrees to make the change, just do it. You should remember...
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posted: Thursday February 12th - 9:55am

Can Natural Treatments Help My Overly-Worried ADHD Child?

My son has anxiety problems at school and at home. He worries about everything — doing well on tests, his dog getting sick, Ebola. Are there natural treatments that can help?

First, I would make sure that he sees a qualified physician to help with the diagnosis. This is not something that should be handled by a parent alone. There are natural treatments available. I divide them into two types: mental health/mind-body treatments and nutritional supplements. In the first category, depending on your son's age, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful. Two mind-body interventions, self-hypnosis training and...
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posted: Monday February 9th - 12:18pm

How Do I Know When It's Time to Try ADHD Medication?

I am an adult with ADHD, and I do not take medication. I do fine most of the time, but there are moments, especially at work, when I feel medication would help me focus. Should I ask my doctor to prescribe it?

This is an individual decision. ADHD medication certainly could help, but, before you consider taking meds, it is important to evaluate how lack of focus affects your life. If there is substantial impact, medication might be the answer. There are, of course, possible side effects that you need to be aware of and evaluate if they occur. I always recommend natural treatments first. Do you eat a...
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posted: Monday February 9th - 12:12pm

Can "Green Time" Help ADHD Children Contol Symptoms?

Will time spent outside in nature help my son better manage his symptoms? He takes medication, but I have read that nature can help a child with ADHD.

The research on "green time" for managing ADHD symptoms is suggestive rather than compelling. There is anecdotal evidence, and there are a few small studies. However, I do believe that spending time in nature is a positive thing for any child, and especially for children with ADHD. A patient of mine, a 10-year-old with ADHD, could barely sit still for five minutes. When his grandfather took him...
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posted: Wednesday February 4th - 9:00am

“Meds Make Me Feel Weird!?”

It’s decision time for one young adult with ADHD: take ADHD meds and go to college, or don’t take meds and join the Marines.

Wes-Crenshaw-Headshot_120px
I’m a senior in high school with ADHD. I know lots of people who take ADHD medication. I know some kids who take medication who don’t have ADHD. When I take it the way my doctor prescribes, it makes me feel weird. I don’t feel like myself. That’s a high price to pay. On the other hand, I can’t handle the college prep curriculum—much less college—without...
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posted: Tuesday December 9th - 11:36am

They’re Outta Here! My ADHD Is Chasing Away Potential Girlfriends

A young adult wonders why he doesn’t have friends or romantic relationships for more than a month.

Wes-Crenshaw-Headshot_120px
I am a 21-year-old diagnosed with ADHD. I have never had a relationship with a woman that lasted more than a month. Are ADHD symptoms short-circuiting my relationships? Can ADHD have that effect? Wes: I find that most psychotherapy involves learning how to love and be loved. Many of the teens or young adults whom I work with want to learn to connect and work with...
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posted: Friday November 21st - 5:11pm

Talking Trash

I am a 42-year-old husband diagnosed with ADHD. I feel bad about coming up short in doing chores. I say I'm going to take out the trash, but then my thoughts fly off elsewhere and I walk right past the trash can. Help!

Beth Main ADHD Coach Blog
ADHD has a way of derailing our best intentions and making us look bad. I know you want to do the right thing. Here are some suggestions to help your wife believe it, too: 1. Create a checklist of your chores and when they need to be done. Post the checklist in a prominent place and refer to it often. 2. Develop routines. I know it sounds boring,...
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posted: Friday November 21st - 5:07pm

How Safe Are Stimulants?

I've been taking ADHD medication for a decade. Everyone keeps telling me stimulants are safe, but have there been any long-term studies of people who have been taking a stimulant for decades?

William-Dodson_120px
The two most commonly used stimulant medications have been on the market for a long time — amphetamine for more than 100 years, methylphenidate for 75 years. We know more about them than most medications used these days. There have been studies involving children and stimulants that have run for more than 20 years (the Milwaukee Study and the MTA study). The longest study involved people...
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posted: Friday November 21st - 5:01pm

Just the Facts, Please

I have friends who say that ADHD is not real. Can you give me some hard facts about ADHD to be able to persuade them otherwise?

StephenHinshawHeadshot_120px
There is a lot of ignorance about ADHD out there, especially in the media. Newspapers and magazines report that ADHD is made up or that it's a label for squirmy, non-conforming kids. But ADHD is very real, and science shows that genes are largely responsible for ADHD behaviors. Other causes include low birth weight, in utero alcohol or nicotine exposure, or exposure to toxic chemicals. To...
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