ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a medical condition characterized by differences in the brain’s activity and development. Those differences affect a child’s ability to sit still, control themselves, and pay attention. While all children sometimes struggle in these areas, a child with ADHD has far greater and more severe difficulties. Although children normally learn proper behavior as they get older, a child with ADHD shows little to no improvement. They don’t just “grow out of it.” Treatment for ADHD often includes medication. However, the following methods may also help a child with ADHD.
There’s some evidence that a healthy diet can reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Particularly beneficial foods include meat and other protein-rich foods; foods that contain complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and food rich in omega-3 fatty acids like nuts and fish.
Conversely, some foods and additives can exacerbate ADHD. Simple carbohydrates like sugar fit this category. Foods containing simple carbohydrates include white bread, white rice, French fries. Sodas can be particularly bad for children with ADHD because they contain sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and artificial colors. Candy, energy drinks, and cake frosting also contain ingredients that can make ADHD worse.
There are two federal laws that require schools to help children with disabilities: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. IDEA has more stringent eligibility requirements than does Section 504. A child will probably not qualify for IDEA unless their skills are well below grade level. Section 504 generally applies to youngsters with milder disabilities, like many children with ADHD.
Section 504 requires a school to make a variety of accommodations for a child with ADHD. Examples of such accommodations can include preferential seating away from distractions or near the teacher, extended time to take tests, help with taking notes, modified assignments, and one-on-one tutoring.
Neurofeedback is a type of brain training that can help improve a person’s ability to concentrate. As it involves using an EEG, it is also sometimes called EEG feedback. EEG sensors will be placed on the child’s scalp to read their brainwaves. The child will then play a computer game controlled by their mind. For example, they might have to make a fish swim while passing other sea creatures. When the sensors detect that the child is concentrating, they produce a reward sound or signal. The idea is to help the child learn how it feels when they concentrate and to encourage them to do so.
In behavior therapy, the child’s parents will work with a therapist. Authorities often recommend trying behavior therapy before medication if the child is under six years old. If the child is under 12, the therapist will concentrate on training the parents to help their child, for young children can’t change their behavior without their parents’ help. Behavior therapy can include group therapy with several different families. The therapist will teach the parents how to help their child control their own behavior through internal desire rather than external rewards and punishments. A therapy solutions provider can often help guide parents toward this and other therapy solutions to help their child gain the skills they need for self-regulation and impulse control.
There are thus several different treatments and therapies for ADHD. Parents should consult their doctor as to which treatment or treatments will be the most beneficial.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.