Charting the mind and activities of your ADHD child
“I help families understand that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder. It is not a disorder of effort, character, intelligence, parenting skills or self-control. ADHD is characterized by a pervasive and persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with day to day functioning,” says Dr. Grover. A child can be diagnosed as predominately inattentive or combined inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive subtype. ADHD may be diagnosed in the preschool years through adulthood but is typically diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 12 and is more common in boys than in girls by a two-to-one margin.
Staying on track in school
“Kids with ADHD get stigmatized by their behavior at school. They may get labeled as troublemakers and face peer rejection and social isolation,” says Dr. Grover. “We tell parents to get a comprehensive evaluation and to make sure the diagnosis is correct. I tell families, ‘Don’t just focus on weaknesses, find your child’s strengths.’ This helps keep their self-esteem up. Give them opportunities to shine. Parents need to educate
themselves about ADHD, the education laws and what services their child may be eligible to receive from the school district. You have to become your child’s number one advocate and cheerleader.”
Coping tips for parents
- Provide your ADHD child with structure. Clear and consistent expectations are important.
- Set up routines for getting ready for school, mealtime, homework and bedtime, and stick to them as much possible.
- Praise your child and provide positive reinforcement whenever possible.
- Help your child discover his strengths.
- Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep. “Many of these kids have insomnia. The biggest thing is to get them to unplug. Taking electronics to bed is stimulating. They have to wind down so they can fall asleep,” says Dr. Grover.
- Have your child exercise regularly and feed him a healthy diet.
- Offer unconditional love and support. Start each day fresh.
- Percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD globally: 5-8
- Estimated percentage of adults with ADHD: 2.5 – 4
- The average age of ADHD diagnosis: 7 years old
This article was featured in the Orange County Register on June 24, 2014, and was written by Amy Bentley.
Featured pediatric expert
University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine
Pediatrics Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Dr. Grover is an attending physician for the developmental and behavioral pediatrics rotation for the UC Irvine-CHOC pediatric residency program, and a consulting physician for CHOC’s Early Literacy Program. She completed her internship and residency at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center and also completed a fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Grover is an associate clinical professor in the pediatrics department at UC Irvine and she sees patients both at CHOC and the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Santa Ana. She specializes in evaluating and managing children with ADHD, learning disabilities, educational concerns and autism-spectrum disorders.
Dr. Grover’s philosophy of care: “I look at my job as a privilege. It’s my privilege to
have this opportunity to interact with my patients and their families.”