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ADD/ADHD Information

Common Problems for ADHDers Can Include:

Teachers, parents, and friends may notice many other problems for those who have ADHD. Often, these problems are not recognised as just being part of ADHD. These people might also:

Be very disorganised. They often don't get the right assignments home. Even more amazing, they may do homework and then forget to hand it in!
Find that other people seem to take forever to eat, shop, or get to the point! Time seems to move so slowly in these settings.
Have trouble with arguing, blaming others, or even lying.
Sometimes have "blow ups" over unimportant things.
Yell at people who are trying to help them.
Have trouble noticing how other people are reacting to them. After all, who's got time for that?
Have a sense of always being nervous or worried.
Have trouble with handwriting, or sometimes with other school subjects.

What Can We Do About It?

Dozens of books have been written about helping ADHD, including books by Drs. Ross Greene and Thomas Phelan. Here's some of the best advice:

Just STOP. Remember, the problem in ADHD is difficulty putting on the brakes. First, we need to keep an eye out for the warning signs that our brakes aren't working-and that we are spinning out of control. The warning signs include getting angry, sensing that we are getting overwhelmed, raising our voice, and tightening our hands. When we first notice these warning signs of getting "over-heated," we then need to try extra hard to STOP. Work out a code word or phrase, such as "I need a five-minute time-out" with people you are close to. Go someplace quiet, such as your room. Don't worry about getting in the last words in the discussion. (You'll get a chance later.) Do something calm like reading a book, sorting cards, etc. Once you are calm, then come back for a useful discussion of the problem. People around you should do the same thing. Sometimes, you may not notice-or may not want to notice-the warning signs. Then please, please, please listen to others when they ask you to STOP and take a five-minute break.

Make decisions when you are calm. You'll be surprised how much easier it is to reach a good decision when you and everyone else is calm. People cannot think clearly when they are over-excited. Returning to our bicycle example, wait until the bicycle coasts to a stop. Then, look around and calmly consider your options.

Realise that your parents and teachers are usually good at preparing for the future. In the bicycle story above, your parents can be thought of as standing on the sidewalk, watching you speed downhill. Since they are not overwhelmed just trying to stay on the bike, they have no trouble looking ahead to see the truck coming. They're screaming, "Watch out for the truck!" or "Watch out for that cliff," or "Watch out for that book report due in two weeks." A parent's foresight is typically much better than that of their ADHD child. Listen to them. Please. If nothing else, it's probably fair to say that your parents usually try to act in your best interest.

People with ADHD typically need help with organisation. Take it. Remember, it is not fair to yell at someone who is trying to help you!

Your doctor may prescribe medication with "stimulants" (such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall or Dexedrine). These medications stimulate your frontal lobes, making them perform better. Let's return to the bicycle story. Medications like Ritalin work by stimulating the stopping power of your brakes. You find yourself in less trouble because you now have a high performance bike, which is complete with a braking system. It does not work by making you too tired to move around.

Keep a good attitude about yourself. Remember that ADHDers also have many great traits. They know how to have fun and enjoy the present moment. They are often quite smart, very creative, and have a "why not try it?" attitude that is the envy of many people. We always need to keep in mind all that is wonderful about you. 2004

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