Managing Treatment

Take the Lead to Succeed

As he approaches adulthood, your teen’s needs are changing – is his medication regimen changing, too?

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ADHD medication spilling out of bottle

Keep these bullet points in mind when adjusting medications for ADD/ADHD teens.

– High schoolers often refuse to take medication because they feel embarrassed. Listen and discuss his concerns and make adjustments. Sometimes giving your teen a sounding board is enough. When your teen ticks off complaints about medication, you might say, “I know you get tired of taking it. It stinks that you need medicine every day. I know how you feel” – then give him a hug.

– Teachers should remember that medication is not a magic bullet and does not solve all school problems. Even when medication works properly, behaviors will improve somewhat but may still be problematic.

– Know the facts. Researchers have reported that stimulant medication is slightly less effective for students with ADD (55 to 65 percent) when compared to those with ADHD (70 to 90 percent).

When medication is working, teachers should see the following changes: increased attention, concentration, compliance, and effort on tasks, and decreased activity levels, impulsivity, negative behaviors in social interactions, and physical and verbal hostility.

– As your teen reaches junior or senior year, let her see the doctor alone. Get her involved in medication management and scheduling doctor’s appointments.

JILL MURPHY is an ADHD life skills and academic coach, a special educator, and a parent support facilitator. CYNTHIA ENFINGER, M.A., has been teaching elementary, middle school, high school, and college for 31 years.

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