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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: 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?

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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?

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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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posted: Monday November 17th - 10:36am

Is My Son's School Stepping Over the Line?

My child's teacher told me that she can see that he has ADHD and that we need to get him on meds. I disagree. Can the school force my son to take meds?

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Teachers and other school personnel are allowed to share their observations about a student's behavior or academic performance, or to suggest that a student might need an evaluation to enable the school to better understand his learning or attention issues. But federal special education laws prohibit school districts from requiring a child to obtain a prescription for ADHD medication as a condition of attending school, receiving...
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posted: Monday November 10th - 3:15pm

No Special Class for My Child

My fourth-grader has both ADHD and a learning disability (and has an IEP), but has been doing OK in a regular class. Now the school says she should be in a small, self-contained class. Can the school move her?

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Not right away and maybe never. A basic principle of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is that students with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive environment. Any time a student is placed in a setting other than a regular class in a regular school, the IEP team needs to consider less restrictive options and decide whether they will meet the student's needs. So...
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posted: Monday November 10th - 3:03pm

Can I Get Support in College?

I am a student who has received accommodations in high school (extended time and a quiet test location) under a 504 Plan. How can I make sure I get these accommodations in college?

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Colleges are not bound by any accommodations or supports you have received in high school. However, they are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which says that individuals with one or more disabilities that "substantially limit one or more major life activities" (including problems with learning and attention) may receive accommodations. You will need to contact your college's Office of Disability Services...
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posted: Friday November 7th - 11:55am

"I'm Too Distracted When I Drive”

A young adult wonders what he can do to avoid accidents and speeding tickets.

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I am a 22-year-old with ADHD. I am very impatient and unfocused when I am behind the wheel. I have gotten one violation for speeding and another for running a red light. I am on the verge of losing my license, but I need my car for my job. What can I do? I know that ADHDers aren’t the best of drivers. Wes: You’re right, and the...
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posted: Tuesday October 21st - 4:00pm

Can Brain Training Improve ADHD Symptoms?

Some studies suggest that brain training improves focus and working memory in general. Others suggest that it improves symptoms only while you’re playing the game or doing the training. Can you clarify this?

This is a controversial topic. There is good evidence showing that the Cogmed program, specifically, improves working memory and increases attention in children with ADHD. We do not know, however, how long these gains last, as studies have followed these children for only three or four months after treatment. There is not enough evidence to show that other computer games or programs help ADHD symptoms like...
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posted: Tuesday October 21st - 12:00pm

Does Mindfulness Help ADHD Symptoms?

I have heard a lot about mindfulness helping ADHD symptoms. Can I do mindfulness at home, or do I have to see a counselor to show me how to do it?

There is some interesting preliminary evidence to suggest that mindfulness, specifically the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR), may help ADHD symptoms. One can learn how to practice mindfulness from a book or an audio- or videotape. However, it is best to receive the initial training in person. It does not have to be a one-on-one session with a counselor. There are many group mindfulness-training sessions available...
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posted: Thursday October 16th - 3:15pm

Pesticide Exposure and ADHD

Do the pesticides and other chemicals found in non-organic foods affect my ADHD symptoms?

There is good evidence that pesticide exposure will increase the likelihood of a child having ADHD. In one study of more than 1,100 children, those with higher levels of pesticides in their urine were more than twice as likely to have ADHD as those with lower levels. So far, however, we do not have research to show that decreasing pesticide exposure will improve ADHD symptoms in...
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