Did you know October is ADHD Awareness month? What is ADHD? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that commonly appears in childhood, before age seven.
There are 3 subtypes of ADHD:

*Predominantly Inattentive
Most symptoms fall under inattention
*Predominantly Impulsive/Hyperactive

Most symptoms full under impulsivity/hyperactivity
*Combined
Mix of inattention and impulsivity/hyperactivity

If you are a parent with a child diagnosed with ADHD, below are 8 tips that may help your child thrive:

1) Set a Routine
Pro Tip: Implementation of visual schedules and timers to accomplish tasks/routines are very helpful! It will not only decrease impulsive behaviors, but they also will help your child follow directions

2) Simplify environment
Less is more! If your child has a neat and organized environment, it will help reduce unnecessary distractions

3) Give clear, short instructions
Just as it is important to keep the environment simplified, it is important to also simplify directions and praise your child’s efforts

4) Encourage Movement
Research shows that children with ADHD should participate in athletics, as it not only is an excellent source to burn excess energy, but it also improves attention. Additionally, some children with ADHD may require increased vestibular feedback, which is what helps provide the body a sense of balance and regulation

5) Use a rewards chart
A rewards chart, or positive reinforcement, may be a great motivator to complete tasks

6) Teach wait-time
Teaching your child to take a pause before speaking is important to reduce impulsivity. Additionally, it will teach the back-and-forth conversational exchange, promoting overall social pragmatics

7) Take breaks
Taking breaks is not only essential for a child with ADHD (e.g., taking a scheduled break while completing homework), but it is also essential for the parent. Remember to take breaks and remain calm. The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be

8) Take care of yourself to remain positive
Taking care of yourself is essential, not only for your health, but also to have the energy to maintain positivity for your child. Your positivity is what will help your child’s strengths to excel in all environments

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, or is showing signs of ADHD, it is also worth considering having an occupational therapist on your team. Occupational therapy focuses on skills that a person requires to function appropriately in everyday life.
A pediatric occupational therapist can help a child with ADHD develop skills and strategies to manage their hyperactive and impulsive behaviors.
Recent research shows that an occupational therapist can help:
*Build awareness of time and task management
*Increase their attention to detail, which helps overall organizational skills
*Improve executive function skills (e.g., planning, memory, attention)
*Improve social skills
If you live in Florida, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Exceptional Speech Therapy to determine if your child is eligible to receive occupational therapy! Our trusted occupational therapists will ensure your child receives exceptional, individualized care.

-Andrea Scola, M.S., CCC-SLP, Exceptional Speech Therapy Blog Writer

References:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, January 26). What is ADHD? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html.

Parents Guide to ADHD in Children. Child Mind Institute. (2020, August 12). https://childmind.org/guide/what-parents-should-know-about-adhd/.