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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

What We Know We Can Do To Manage ADHD Symptoms in Children

Why do children in France have a lower rate of being diagnosed and medicated compared to children in the United States? Is it the nutrition? Is it the structure? Do psychologists and physicians in France not understand the criteria for a diagnosis?

Father David Roseberry, Rector at Christ Church in Plano, recently posted an article on Facebook about research showing that the rate of ADHD is much lower for children in France. This fuels questions about misdiagnoses. Does ADHD really exist? Are these studies flawed? In the United States are we just overmedicating? Instead of just questioning the research, let's consider what we know we can do for all children whose lives can be improved by helping them focus and attend.

In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%. In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In the U.S. we believe that there are biological causes for this disorder. In France children are treated with the belief that ADHD is a condition that has psycho-social and situational causes.

Research suggests that researchers in France and in the U.S. are both correct. There is sufficient evidence that brains fire more often in the frontal lobe of people with ADHD causing distractibility, inattentiveness, impulsivity, and further problems with executive functioning. Chaotic environments that lack structure, predictability, and order impair the ability to attend, manage distractions, and sequence. So what do we do? Where does this benefit families who struggle with their child's ability to attend, manage distractions and impulsivity?

Here are 5 things parents can do to improve their child's ability to manage attention (whether ADHD has been officially diagnosed or not):

1. Set your child up to be successful:

2. Promote Emotional Regulation:

3. Focus on Discipline to Teach Skills:

  • Minimize Punishment and Use Strategies for Discipline (Learn the Difference Between Discipline and Punishment)

  • Catch your child doing things right instead of just pointing out what is wrong.

  • Help your child become a good problem-solver to improve focus.

4. Build A Child's Internal Resources Rather than Being the One to Praise and Reward:

5. Manage Mental Fatigue:

  • Take frequent breaks when trying to sustain attention.

  • Use a variety of ways to reinforce what a child is learning (flashcards, drawings, music, etc)

  • Do the hard stuff first when attention is more likely to be sustained.

By focusing on how a lack of attention disrupts a child instead of just trying to figure out the cause of the problem, parents can lead their child towards success. Let's benefit from the knowledge that some of what causes ADHD is biological and environmental when working to improve attention. All children benefit from the strategies listed above. Whether you live in France or in the U.S., children with ADHD will benefit the most.

Thanks for posting the article Father David. I'm glad you asked for my opinion. I've always got one.

To read the original article posted by Father David go to this link Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

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