Managing your child's ADHD symptoms

Once you know your child has ADHD, there are several things to consider to ensure their symptoms are being best managed. The main goal of your child's treatment is to:

  • decrease disruptive behaviours
  • improve your child's functioning including school work and increased independence
  • improve your child's interactions with peers and family
  • improve your child's self-esteem
  • enhance safety in the community such as in crossing streets or riding bicycles

To achieve this, you will likely need to combine several treatment options together. Some people refer to this as a "multimodal" approach. The treatment of your child's ADHD should ideally be tailored to their needs and your family's situation. Often, optimal treatment includes:

  • education
  • good communication between the school, home, and the treatment team
  • behaviour management strategies
  • medications

Once treatment has begun, various rating scales and forms can be used to track how you are doing and to see if there are any changes that need to be made.. Weekly progress diaries between home and school can also be used to measure improvements over time.

If your child's treatment plan is working well, it will be obvious that your child's functioning has improved considerably, their main ADHD symptoms are substantially diminished, and your child is interacting well with others. As well, side effects from any medications should be negligible or easy to manage.

If you do not feel your child's treatment plan is managing your child's ADHD symptoms well, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor at your next appointment. Your child may simply need a change in dose or perhaps a different medication. It may be worthwhile to review the treatment options with your doctor again. Many children who do not respond well to one medication for ADHD do well on another.

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