What Happens When A 13 Year.Old Child Doesnt Go To.School ADD – How to Cope

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ADD – How to Cope

Dealing with ADD is an ongoing challenge for parents. We do not “cure” ADD. We certainly have to live with it. “How to cope?” This is well said. I intend to give you some concrete tools that you can use immediately with dramatic results.

Remember, ADD is Attention Deficit Disorder with the main problem being focus of attention. We differentiate ADD from ADHD in that ADHD has both focus and Hyperactivity problems. I started treating this (this) disorder in 1985 before we differentiated the two. I still prefer to think of them both as just “ADD”.

The ADD child is easily distracted. They are drawn to “the next shiny object.” On their way to one shiny object, another catches their eye and leaves. This sounds fun but it can be frustrating to a parent or teacher trying to deal with these kids. In fact, get a few of them in one place, and pay attention. Children with ADD are much easier to deal with one on one than in a group.

In truth, Attention Deficit Disorder is misnamed. It’s not really a “lack” in attention. In fact, the child notices or pays attention to too many things. They notice everything. It is really too much than a deficit.

Follow some great tips that will help you effectively treat most children with ADD.

  1. Educate yourself. ADD is Developmental Delay. The child cannot do what he is not yet able to do. We measure this developmental delay approximately 30% behind “normal” development. Therefore, a chronological 13-year-old may function more like a 9-year-old. He may look 13 but his skills are only developed up to the level of age 9. The last two skills developing in the human brain are: 1) Internal versus external motivation; and 2) Deferred gratification. Doesn’t every child struggle in these areas? Think of the ADD child’s brain as a really good computer, but 30% of the software isn’t installed yet. Using computer analogies works well to easily explain this. It’s like you keep pressing the right key on the keyboard, yet the computer doesn’t respond. You get frustrated and wonder what is wrong with the computer. Then, you wonder why you are so incompetent at operating this computer. In reality, there is nothing wrong with you or the computer. It still cannot respond to your command if the software has not been installed. Just like your child cannot respond or meet your expectations because the brain has not yet developed the ability.
  2. Change your expectations. Now that you know your child has ADD, you need to adjust your expectations for his performance abilities. That doesn’t mean he isn’t smart, or capable of doing many things. He may need to be told, reminded, encouraged and controlled. It is your understanding and expectations that must change first.
  3. Give one command at a time.Have you ever given a child with ADD a series of tasks like “go upstairs and make your bed, bring your basket down to the laundry room, and take out the recycling?” I bet you have. And you know what happens. You find him 10 minutes later playing with the cat in the hall outside his room. He doesn’t know why you’re upset and he has less of a clue about what you told him to do. If you’re lucky, he’s made his bed and is playing with a toy on his bedroom floor. At least he got the first assignment. Add child simply cannot process multiple consecutive tasks. Stop frustrating yourself and him and give one task at a time. It still won’t happen that he processes and remembers many consecutive requests. Stop your own frustration. It doesn’t change. You need to change the way you assign tasks.
  4. When you assign a task, have him repeat it back to you so you know he got it.This one is huge. It sounds so simple, and it is. But it is also very powerful. Learning and memory are greatly enhanced by repetition. Also, the more sensory modalities you use to give a command, the better. By categories I mean visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Looking at yourself or seeing the task is visual. To hear you say it is audible. Kinesthetic can be touch or feelings (or both). So, if you touch him, or smile or create a good feeling and attitude when you talk, you will have operated in all three categories. Your child will retain more and therefore be more likely to follow the task.
  5. If outside the home, give the instructions or commands at the point of action.We cannot expect the ADD child to remember what behaviors or performance expectations we may have. We especially cannot expect him to remember situation-specific expectations. Let’s use the mall as an example. At the mall door, tell the child what your expectations are. Have him repeat them to you. The impact of positive action will increase dramatically. At home, he can reread the instruction at home after school that you gave before school. Or, you can call him from work, with him in the room where you assign the task and you have created a point-of-performance situation.
  6. Most importantly, as a parent, you need to relax and be as relevant as possible.ADD children are especially sensitive to the positive or negative energy around them. They are extra sensitive. If you are negative, angry, hostile or sarcastic, they will pick it up and be affected by it. Be positive. Be clear. Be Firm. be loving Be as real as you possibly can be. This will always happen whether our child has ADD or not. I have seen some sad situations in my practice where parents are so frustrated and excited with a child that they don’t realize how they are talking to and about him. They sound like they can’t stand the kid. It can sound so painful. Imagine the heartbreak in that child when his parent sounds like they seriously dislike him. This can cut to the core and cause severe harm to a child. A child has not developed enough armor to withstand so much injury. It can cause long-term damage. So be as loving, positive and real as you can be.

These are just some of the things I know will help. Attention can be regained by using the child’s name. A touch on the shoulder focuses attention. Parental attitude makes all the difference in the world.

Dealing with ADD is not really easy for anyone. But you can easily cope. Many successful, high-powered, and happy adults had ADD as children, and as adults. These children are usually bright and very funny. Sure, they are annoying sometimes. But can’t we all be?

© 2010 by John B Hudome, all rights reserved.

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