Here is a step-by-step outline that you can follow to insure that you have covered all the bases in working out the best approach for your child. Since every child with A.D.D. requires an individual management program, not every step is needed for every child. Nor are all these steps exclusively A.D.D. interventions. Numbers 9 through 11 apply specifically to A.D.D. The others are part of optimal parenting of any child.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR CHILD’S INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
What are the main problems in behavior and/or learning?
- Complete the A.D.D.-Q
- Assess the severity of the problems.
- Interview teachers and other caregivers.
- What are your child’s special qualities? Which ones work to his advantage or disadvantage?
STEP 2: TUNE UP FAMILY FUNCTIONING
- Review family organization and time management techniques.
STEP 3: REVIEW YOUR CHILD’S EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Which ones work to his advantage, and which ones are detrimental to his behavior or self-esteem?
- Sports. Is your child in the right sport and in the right position on the team?
- Is your child involved in appropriate school activities (choir, band, dramatics, debating, art, photography, etc)?
- Assess your child’s friends. Which ones mesh with his personality? Which ones clash? Guide your child toward friendships that bring out his best qualities and discourage those that bring out his worst.
STEP 4: SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL SUCCESS
- Interview the teacher and visit the classroom.
- Try various learning strategies.
- Improve your child’s organization and attention skills.
- Improve your child’s memory and motivation.
- Request psychological, behavior, intelligence, and any other tests that the school can provide, which may indicate your child’s specific style of learning, and give recommendations to improve areas that need help. Save a copy of those tests for your appointment with the A.D.D. specialist.
- Consider tutoring/supplemental education to boost your child’s skills and confidence.
STEP 5: ASSESS YOUR CHILD’S NUTRITION
- In consultation with a nutritionist, perform a nutritional analysis
- Try an elimination diet to exclude food sensitivities
- After identifying possible nutritional deficiencies, work out a daily nutritional supplement program.
- Feed your child a healthy breakfast and school lunch for a good nutritional start each day. See ADD Foods.
STEP 6: GET YOUR CHILD A COMPLETE MEDICAL CHECKUP
- Have your child’s vision and hearing checked.
- Have your child’s iron level checked.
- Discuss with your doctor any possible medical conditions that may be affecting your child’s behavior and learning.
- Ask your doctor’s opinion on whether or not medication would be helpful for your child. Remember that medication may be used in addition to all the other strategies and should not be the only intervention.
- Ask your doctor to recommend an A.D.D. specialist, learning specialist, or behavior specialist as needed.
STEP 7: GET AN EVALUATION BY A SPECIALIST IN A.D.D.
- Review the strategies you have been using – what works, what doesn’t.
- Bring along medical records, school records, teacher assessments, and the A.D.D.-Q checklist that you have filled out.
- Ask the specialist for an opinion on other management strategies in which they have both training and experience (e.g., stimulant medication, neurofeedback, nutritional supplement therapy, etc.).
- Review the results of the school tests (step 5, above) with the A.D.D. specialist.
- Work out an overall management plan.
STEP 8: CONSIDER NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING TO HELP YOUR CHILD LEARN SELF- REGULATION
- Consider whether your child is a candidate for neurofeedback.
- Set realistic goals and chart your child’s progress during neurofeedback.
STEP 9: CONSIDER MEDICATIONS TO HELP YOUR CHILD WITH A.D.D.
- Especially when hyperactivity is extreme, consider medical management that includes medication.
- Chart the effects of medications on your child.