Living with ADHD which is not effectively treated is like trying to run the Boston Marathon with a
knapsack of bricks on your back. You can do it, but you got to work a lot harder than everybody else, and you don’t get the rewards you would for somebody else with
the same ability and the same effort. So, it’s important to provide, you know, there are frustrating things where people with ADHD, kids with ADHD are often struggling to try to get things done that
most other people do easily. Or they have to go back and do it again and again, and they’re often getting feedback from their peers or from teachers saying you’re just not trying hard enough. And providing some support for things like that is really very, very basically important. That’s what helps kids to keep going in the midst of the frustration so they don’t give up hope for their own ability to learn and to be successful. One thing that’s often helpful is behavioral strategies for some types of difficulties. For example, with a child who’s very restless and is having trouble staying in his chair in school at his desk, or where a child is having difficulty with responding too impulsively when he’s frustrated in dealing with other kids, or when her feelings are hurt, or where a person tends to shoot off their mouth the minute they get frustrated
or annoyed with somebody, behavioral strategies can often be helpful. What that involves usually is carefully looking at the specific problems that come up and finding ways of teaching the child different ways of dealing with it and then reinforcing, encouraging those behaviors. Not just yelling at him, because you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. And you’re going to be able to get a better response in terms of getting somebody to stop doing something you don’t want them to do if you encourage them to do the things you do want them to do. And there’s a Parenting Coach section on the Understood website which provides a lot of behavioral methods to help with some of the difficulties with ADHD, particularly with younger children. The other treatment approach which is often used for ADHD is medication. It’s the most effective method we have for dealing with many of the problems of ADHD. But it’s important to understand medication for ADHD cures nothing. It’s not like you have a strep throat,
you take an antibiotic, and it knocks out the infection.
It’s more like my eyeglasses. I have a problem with my eyes. I can’t read typewriter-size print without my glasses. If I have them on, I can read it
about as well as anybody can, but if I take them off, it just looks
blurry to me and I can’t see. Just as my eyeglasses do not help me when I don’t have them on, the medicine doesn’t help when the medicine’s worn off. The fine-tuning of medicine is critical in order to have it be effective. Sometimes very little children need bigger doses and very big adults need very small doses. And the prescriber needs to take that into account and talk with the child, talk with the parents to see how’s it working, are there difficulties with it, and to make adjustments to try and find something that will work, knowing these do not work for everybody and they don’t cure anything. So there are behavioral interventions
that could be useful; there are medication interventions that may be useful. It’s a matter of looking at this particular child at this particular age in this situation and thinking about OK, what has the best chance of helping with the things they need help with.