Communication tips for Parents of Children with ADHD

What is ADHD?

Let’s start with clarifying the term ADHD. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder believed to affect up to 1 in 20 children in the USA. It is marked by symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity which can significantly impact on many aspects of behaviour and performance, both at school and at home. In approximately 80% of children with ADHD, symptoms persist into adolescence and may even continue into adulthood.
It is extremely important to give right kind of instructions to your child with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, so here are nine tips to better equip you to handle your child’s needs.

1. Physical contact

It is always recommended to make physical contact with your child while giving instructions, shouting from a distance, for instance, loses its impact and child hardly pays attention to it. This is because of executive functioning issues with your child.

2. Eye Contact

Try to make eye contact with your child during conversations or while directing him/her to complete a task.

3. Hold their hand

During a conversation, holding your child’s hand can be beneficial because this will help you to grab their attention.

4. Mind your tone

Maintaining positive intonation during your conversations with your child is very important. While giving instructions, your voice has to be firm but affectionate at the same time.

5. Keep it Simple

Your directions should be short, and one at a time, since your child has attention and memory issues, he might get confused and end up doing nothing. For example “Get up and brush your teeth, once this is completed, Polish your shoes” and so on

6. Reasoning

Explain the reason behind the directions so they can learn to work out cause and effect, and are more invested in that task.

7. Careful with your words

Be clear in your words, no sarcasm or taunts, as they may find it difficult to interpret

8. Phrasing

Don’t start the sentence with “don’t”. Instead of saying something like “Don’t touch the laptop” a better way to phrase it would be “Good boys and girls don’t touch their parent’s laptop without their permission, I don’t want you to touch it.”

9. Rewarding good behaviour

If the child is able to comply with your commands then he/she must be rewarded immediately either by giving them extra play time, internet access for extra 15 minutes, immediate praise etc. This will help to reinforce their behavior.

Samita has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Clinical Psychology. Her areas of interest are adult and child neuropsychology.

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