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My Top Tips For Dealing With My ADD Son, Richard

The following are my top tips for dealing with my ADD son Richard. Please remember that they have not worked every time and of course each child is different, but if they give you some food for thought, then all the better. Scroll down or click on the hypertext links here to go to each tip.

1. Stay Calm
2. Change The Subject
3. Lots Of Praise
4. I Can Do Lots Of Things
5. Short And Sweet
6. Rewards
7. Sleep
8. Laugh
9. Embarrassing Or What
10. A Good Cuddle

1. Stay Calm - Easy to say I know but if I get stressed out at one of Richard's moods, and I have, it makes him ten times worse.
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2. Change The Subject - If the conversation seems to be leading to a stressful situation, I do what I call a 'Heslop'. Those of you who remember the T.V. comedy 'Porridge', may recall a chap called Heslop, who always cut a conversation dead with one line quips which had no relevance whatsoever to what was being discussed, the famous one being, 'My mother went to Sidcup!'.
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3. Lots Of Praise - Even accomplishing a small task is a great feat for Richard, so I try and make sure he knows how pleased I am, by giving lots of praise and sounding as though I mean it. Picking out a particular part of the task and asking a question about it makes him realise, I am genuinely interested and pleased. I try never to say just ' Oh yes, that's good ' and then start talking about something entirely different.
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4. I Can Do Lots Of Things - Richard sees his brothers and other children getting on with things easily and therefore his self esteem starts to slide when he finds he can't do the same. I try and boost him up by reeling off a list of things he does really well and you can often see him visibly fill back up with pride, especially if I can find something, however small, that he can do that others find difficult. There are many examples of this but the one that springs to mind immediately is his extraordinary long term memory. I try and call upon this whenever we need to remember an event or person, this really makes him feel important, and so it should because it's one of his strengths.
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5. Short And Sweet - I have found that Richard gets on better with a task if I break it down into manageable (for him) segments. An example of this could be, instead of asking him to clear his room, I would start with getting him to pick up just the books, then ask him to gather up any dirty clothes etc., etc. With little breaks and praise for what he has done after each mini task, he can accomplish a lot.
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6. Rewards - Star charts, smiley stickers - Richard loves them. They don't have to be for big achievements either. At one stage getting him to dress himself, brush his teeth etc., was a real struggle. It still is sometimes but following a period of sticker awards on a chart for doing these and other everyday tasks, he got into a sort of routine, which he mostly still carries on, with the odd hiccup. He likes my latest idea of printing out a picture and then cutting it into jigsaw pieces. He then gets rewarded with a piece for good work/behaviour etc., and builds up the picture.
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7. Sleep - Richard feels comfortable with routines, so going to bed has turned into something of a ritual. Turning his covers down in a particular way, the door left in a certain position etc. Psychiatrists would have a field day but if it sets him up for a good nights' kip then I don't care. He still gets up at 5 a.m. and sometimes in the night but now he's got into a routine, he's much better than he used to be.
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8. Laugh - You could really cry sometimes, but having a laugh about a situation really can help in my experience to relieve the tension, even if the circumstances don't really call for it, who cares.
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9. Embarrassing Or What - Some of the things Richard has done in public really make you feel like disappearing down the nearest manhole but I try hard not to bother about what other people think, after all, he can't help it and that's what I tell myself in these situations.
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10. A Good Cuddle - Richard is a really emotional and loving child and a good old fashioned cuddle does us both the power of good.
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These are just a few of many tips. Mum operates them too but it was just easier to write them down from my perspective. I hope you find them useful.

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