Patient Care

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder - ADHD (Children)

Caring for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)?

We have listed some tips below on how to help your child with ADHD:

  • Have an assigned area to do homework
    • Remove clutter from the work space.
  • Keep outings short
    • If you know that certain environments are more than your child can handle, do not expect more than your child can give.
  • Focus on the positive
    • Praise your child often for good behaviours (e.g. "Thank you for putting away your toys"), instead of focusing on negative behaviours.
  • Try to redirect (not reduce) their behaviours
    • For example, schedule sports classes for them, or give them constructive outlets to expend their physical energy.
  • Have a routine at home and familiarise your child with it.
  • Have a safe place that they can play in.
  • Positive comments should outnumber negative comments by 2 to 1, ideally 4 to 1.
  • Make your expectations very clear, for instance for instance "walk next to me" rather than "don't run".
  • Behaviour charts
    • Come to an agreement with your child about a target behaviour and note how often your child can achieve the target behaviour, (e.g. complete a homework assignment with only two reminders over the course of a week).
  • Dealing with problem behaviours through a range of graded responses
    • Some examples of this are ignoring the child, letting consequences take their natural course (e.g. a toy left out in the rain gets spoilt), explaining logical consequences (e.g. a response from a teacher for not doing homework), and imposing timeouts.
  • Keep instructions brief and clear
    • Make eye contact with your child before giving important information. Repeat your instructions when necessary.
What are some ways to help children with ADHD learn better?

We have listed some tips below on how to help a child with ADHD to learn better.

  • Sit the child near the teacher's desk, at the front of the class.
  • Limit copying from the whiteboard.
  • Place the child away from children who will provoke him or her.
  • Allow the child opportunities to move around, e.g. to clean the whiteboard, bring books to the teacher.
  • Maintain eye contact with the child when giving verbal commands.
  • Give instructions slowly and clearly
    • Avoid multiple commands. Ask the child to repeat the instruction before attempting the task.
  • Children with attention issues should not be humiliated in front of the class. They should instead be frequently praised for appropriate behaviours.
  • Get the child's attention before giving important instructions.
  • Encourage the child's strengths, e.g. musical or, athletic abilities.
  • Provide a system of record keeping of appropriate behaviours
    • Younger children may respond to sticker rewards and older children can be rewarded with a token system.
  • Identify a criteria for success and increase expectations consistently.
  • Have pre-established consequences for misbehaviour
    • Focus on loss of privileges rather than physical punishment.
What are some teaching strategies for children with ADHD?

Here are some strategies that teachers may use in classes to help a child with ADHD.

  • Preview previous lessons before starting a new lesson
    • Clearly state the aims of the lesson.
  • Provide advance warning before the lesson ends
    • E.g. Give a warning 10 minutes before they are due to hand in their work. Tell the students how much time they have left to complete their work.
  • Tell students how to prepare for the next lesson
  • Break tasks down into smaller parts
    • Give sufficient time for completion of chunks of tasks.
How can you teach organisation skills to children with ADHD?

Children with ADHD can lack executive functioning skills which help them organise themselves and multi-task. 60 to 80% of children with ADHD underachieve academically because of problems with work production and consistency. We have some tips below that may be effective in helping these children stay organised.

  • Have a notebook where the child will note down all the homework he or she has to do.
  • Colour-code folders to help the child organise assignments for different subjects (e.g. red for Maths, orange for English etc.).
  • Assign a buddy
    • to help the child organise his or her assignments in the correct folders.
  • Teach the child to read a watch and to use the watch to complete assignments on time.
  • Allow the child to break up long assignments so that there are scheduled breaks for physical activity.
  • Create a timetable and display it where it is easily visible to the child.
What are some behavioural management methods for children with ADHD?

Children with attention difficulties or hyperactivity need frequent reminders to reinforce appropriate behaviour and to stop inappropriate behaviour.

  • Verbal praise
    • Praising the child with simple phrases such as "good job" will encourage him or her to persist in the appropriate behaviour. It is also a good practice to praise the child when he or she is doing well or able to complete an assigned task.
  • Reprimands
    • Reprimands are effective so long as they remain brief and are directed at the child's behaviour and not the child.
    • In some instances, it is helpful to ignore the child's behaviour, especially if he or she is misbehaving to get your attention.
  • Establish simple non-verbal cues
    • For example, by giving the child a "look" to remind the child to refocus on his or her work.
  • When talking or teaching the child, move closer to him or her so that he or she focuses on you more easily.
What are some methods to improve the self-esteem of children with ADHD?

Children with ADHD may have low self-esteem and self-confidence. They may have experienced stigma as not everyone believes ADHD is a neuro-behavioural problem. Some people believe that it is the fault of the child, or due to poor or bad parenting. Children with ADHD may also suffer from anxiety or depression, which may undermine efforts made to build their confidence.

  • Encourage the child to do things where he or she will experience success
  • Encourage and praise the child often
Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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