Medication and Schedule Reminders

Q:

"Our 19-year-old son recently moved back into our home after leaving and struggling to survive in NYC. He was diagnosed with AD/HD when he was 8 years old. He took medication until he was about 14, and stopped because it was difficult for him to make doctor's appointments because he played sports, and also difficult for him to take medication in High School. Now, he is going to an Adult High School program at the community college and working part-time. My question is should we follow up with medication now? He is very unorganized and doesn't follow through." - DLD

Sandy Maynard
A:

If your son is going to school and working part time and the concern is remembering to take the medication and be on time for appointments and classes, a planner is essential to stay on top of things.

Spectra Planner makes an age-specific daily organizer for students. Many of my clients like it, as it is color coded for the days and has plenty of room to record assignments. There are other features that make it easy to use, such as space for weekly and monthly "to do" lists and stickers for appointments. For more information, call 987.682.1579 or visit their Spectra's web site at AndoverCounseling.com.

No planner will help unless you know where it is and to use it! Two great tips for keeping track of it:

  • Keep it in the same compartment of your book bag.
  • Have a special place to keep it at home so he can be easily find it. (One of my clients built a special shelf near the phone in her kitchen and keeps her planner there when it is not in her purse. Nothing else is to go on that shelf but her planner. Now when other family members see the planner on a counter or table they return it to the shelf, as they know how important it is for her to stay organized.)

Medication reminders come in many varieties and formats. These include:

  • Sport watches: Many have up to 5 alarms that can be set as a reminder to take medication and are waterproof so they can be worn in the shower (great for those of us who forget to put our watch back on!).
  • Programmable Watches: Some models of watches vibrate instead of beep and can be programmed with messages like "take medication". More expensive models can be interfaced with a PC for longer messages and more sophisticated programming.
  • Inexpensive appointment reminders can be found in most office supply stores. Day Timer makes one that has 31 alarms and can be clipped to a notebook or fit easily in the side pocket of a book bag. Have your son choose the reminder system that is easiest for him to use.
  • A professional organizer can help your son set up a study area and organize his book bag. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) lists their members by location at NAPO.net . Getting organized and staying organized is hard work, but well worth the effort.

As for specific medication issues and concerns, they are best discussed with your physician.

Sandy Maynard lives in Washington, DC where she operates Catalytic Coaching. She was instrumental in the development of The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Coaching Guidelines and a founding board member for the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching (IAAC). Sandy lectures internationally and is a regular contributor to ADDitude.

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