Medications and the ADHD Child
The use of medications is an attempt to help a child control the symptoms of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Such medications target neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and or epinephrine, which have been linked to this medical disorder. Of course, the overriding goals for the child with ADHD are to perform better in school and to have a productive adult life. ADHD may increase the challenges that a person faces, but it does not incapacitate a person’s chances of finally achieving success.
However, medications can only deal with the biological aspects of this illness. Before and during the management of ADHD, the child has already exhibited behavioral problems that affected his/her relationships with parents and with siblings. Prior to the diagnosis of ADHD, the child may already have developed anger and frustration due to the ignorance and misunderstanding of the illness. This is why multiple intervention approaches are needed.
With an intervention approach, the child, together with the family, will relearn social skills and crucial techniques to manage the ADHD-provoked undesirable behaviors. ADHD intervention approaches are usually conducted by mental health professionals and behavioral therapists. Some of these intervention approaches included psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, social skills training for the child, parenting skills for the parents, and the use of support groups.
Emotional Therapy for the ADHD Child
Psychotherapy often involves the exploration of negative feelings that engulfed the child due to the presence of ADHD. These negative feelings and distressing thoughts are better understood so that the child can better cope with ADHD. Behavioral Therapy or BT involves the unlearning of undesired behaviors and the relearning of more desirable ones. Unlike psychotherapy, there is no attempt in BT to understand the underlying feelings behind a behavior. The newly learned behaviors range from practical matters such as organizing schoolwork to more generalized ones, such as controlling anger.
The social skills training for the child with ADHD is more specific than the measures practiced in BT. The goal for such training is to help the child develop socially acceptable skills such as sharing toys, playing group games, waiting in line, asking for assistance, and interpreting facial expressions and voice tones. The parenting skills training is geared toward helping parents deal with the ADHD child. Instead of venting anger and frustration, which are do not have positive effects on the child, the parent will learn techniques that will better manage the child’s hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness. Some techniques include point-systems and time-outs.
Support for the ADHD Child
The purpose of support groups is to provide peer support to parents. Families that have a child with ADHD meet regularly to share information and success stories, as well as problems. Support groups are moderated by specialists. Some of these intervention approaches can be carried out together. No intervention approach is deemed superior than another. The effectiveness of an intervention approach depends on how well it meets the needs of the child with ADHD.