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

posted: Thursday August 11th - 11:26am

The Great Middle-School Paper Challenge

My daughter is entering middle school. Any suggestions as to how to keep her homework and backpack organized?

Piles of school papers, binders, and supplies can bedevil an ADHD child’s attempts to stay organized. Follow Thoreau’s advice: simplify, simplify. In terms of homework, a parent advocate can ask teachers to post homework online and to allow students to submit finished assignments online. As for the rest of it, well, simplify with these tips: > Have one binder with subject dividers rather than keeping a binder...
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posted: Thursday August 11th - 11:13am

Neat-Car Tips for Adults with ADHD

I was asked, at the last minute, if I could take my son’s friend home from school while his mother dealt with an emergency. To my embarrassment, there was no room in my car for a third person. Do you have any tips for how to organize the car?

There are two simple rules for keeping the car clutter-free: 1) be resourceful and 2) expect to take one minute to unload every evening. > Let’s start with Rule 1. Do the kids need multiple games, or can they take only one device, look out the window, or listen to the radio? If you have a cell phone and a minimart on every corner, do you...
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posted: Friday August 5th - 5:01pm

Enlightening an ADHD Non-Believer

How can I explain my ADHD symptoms to my husband, who does not believe in the disorder?

Beth Main ADHD Coach Blog
Sadly, many people don’t believe ADHD is a valid clinical diagnosis. Here’s how to enlighten your husband: > Ask if he believes in the legitimacy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They do a nice job of explaining research techniques and findings on their website, Look for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” under “Health Topics.” > Find out what his specific objection is. Is it...
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posted: Friday August 5th - 4:35pm

The Frustration Factor: Tackling To-Do Lists With Tranquility

I am good at writing a to-do list, but when I make a mistake or get confused about completing an item — hitting traffic when taking clothes to the cleaners or not finding the report I was supposed to finish — I get frustrated. How can I avoid being frustrated so easily?

Making a list is a great form of mental rehearsal, of going through the tasks and goals of your day. As you make your list, visualize each step and how it fits into your time frame. Your frustration happens when things don’t go the way you had expected. The first step is to notice your building frustration and label it by saying, “I am getting...
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posted: Friday August 5th - 3:22pm

When Meds Go Bad: After-School Rebound Strategies

Every afternoon, when my son’s extended-release stimulant wears off, he gets excited and acts out. I know this is called the “rebound effect,” but does this mean he is taking the wrong dosage of stimulant — or is this normal?

It is normal. Almost all of the side effects of stimulants occur when the blood levels of the medication rise or fall. As the medication wears off at the end of the dose, children have a variety of experiences — from becoming overexcited and impulsive to becoming irritable, weepy, and angry. This is often the only effect of the medication — not the positive aspects in...
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posted: Tuesday May 24th - 6:16pm

Can Magnesium Help ADHD Symptoms?

I have heard some good things about magnesium helping ADHD. What do you think?

Because magnesium is a mineral that calms the nervous system, many people wonder if it is helpful for ADHD. There has been some research on the subject. A series of articles, mainly from Poland, in the late 1990s, indicated that children with ADHD had low levels of magnesium and that supplementing with the mineral might improve ADHD symptoms. There was no control group used in these...
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posted: Tuesday May 24th - 6:09pm

Chasing Depression Away Naturally

I have been diagnosed with ADHD and moderate depression. Are there any natural therapies I should try that will improve my depression?

There are a number of integrative natural treatments that can be helpful for depression. The first thing is to look at simple lifestyle issues. Are you getting enough exercise? Are you getting adequate and regular sleep? Do you eat a healthy diet? All of these can make a significant difference in one’s perspective on life. Omega-3 fatty acids may have a positive effect on depression, without...
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posted: Tuesday May 24th - 6:03pm

Do I Need a Coach to Treat My ADHD?

Does coaching fit into a natural treatment plan? Friends of mine with ADHD who exercise, eat healthy, and practice meditation say that they don’t need coaching. What are your thoughts?

ADHD coaching can be helpful, but I don’t think everyone diagnosed with the condition needs it. People with ADHD have a wide range of strengths and weaknesses. Those who have a hard time getting motivated, organized, or sorting out their career might find coaching extremely helpful and even vital. Other people put into place the supports that enable them to succeed without the need of a...
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posted: Monday May 23rd - 5:39pm

What Is a Transition IEP Meeting?

My son is a high school student with ADHD and LD. He has an IEP and his school wants him to attend a “transition IEP meeting.” What is that? He hasn’t attended his IEP meetings in the past, and I am not sure whether he should do so now, since he isn’t really comfortable having an IEP.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) contains extensive provisions about what should happen as students get ready to graduate from high school. This process, called transition, should begin with the IEP meeting that will be held when the student turns 16, although some states schedule the meeting at a younger age. The school is required to invite the student, and, if he doesn’t attend, the...
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posted: Monday May 23rd - 5:31pm

ADHD at Work: Should I Tell My Boss — Or Not?

I recently graduated from college and will be starting my first job. I received accommodations for my ADHD all through school. I am concerned that my ADHD will affect my work performance, but I am reluctant to tell my employer about my condition. I also don’t know what kind of accommodations might help me at work. What do you suggest?

You do not have to disclose your ADHD (or any other disability) to an employer before you are hired. Until you understand the demands of your job, you may not know how your ADHD will affect your daily activities. You might be able to craft your own personal accommodations that will help you succeed, such as closing your office door when you need to concentrate, using...
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