ADHD better known amongst mental health professionals as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, has in recent decades become a label loosely attached to children that appear more fidgety and restless than the rest of the crew. The hallmark symptoms of ADHD are marked by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness. Children diagnosed with ADHD commonly have predominate symptoms in one area, for example, inattentiveness. In some cases, children may have combined types inclusive of both symptoms of impulsivity and inattentiveness. Caring for children with ADHD requires a specialized and intentional care that treats the child in manner that addresses all of their unique needs. Ritalin and Adderall are some of the most common psychotropic medications used to treat the symptoms of ADHD. However, many psychotropic medications come with side effects and can have a long-term impact on the structure of the brain. Unfortunately, many parents and child care workers are not educated on the holistic ways to care for their children. This article will discuss some ways to care for children with ADHD in a manner that will help them thrive.
Diet is plays a major role in the manifestation of symptoms. Sugar and food coloring can be kryptonite ingredients that fuel symptoms of ADHD. Research has shown that children with ADHD are deficient of iron, magnesium, and zinc. Each of these vitamins and minerals have a significant impact on the balancing the brain chemistry. For example, low iron levels are correlated with cognitive declines and severe forms of ADHD. Moreover, zinc and magnesium deficiencies play a major role in inattentiveness and poor focus. Research has shown that a well-balanced diet, namely rich in omega-3 has been shown to alleviate symptoms by 50 percent. As if it’s not difficult enough for parent to encourage health diets, stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall, commonly cause a reduced appetite leading to nutritional deficiencies. Parents and child care professionals should be intentional in creating a meal plan and vitamin regimen that help fortify he deficiencies commonly present in children diagnosed with ADHD.
Children with ADHD commonly struggle with forgetfulness and disorganization. Additionally, when they become interested in an activity they tend to hyper-focus, which makes transitions to new task a battle. In order to help alleviate these issues children must have a strictly followed schedule to provide structure to their disorganized world. Child Care professionals and parents should be trained to prepare children for transitions and offer frequent breaks to allow prevent agitation and “acting out” behaviors. It is essential that both parents and childcare workers maintain the same schedule and approach to maintain consistency. Lack of consistency often hinders the child’s ability to adjust and adopt the schedule. It is essential that child care professionals and parents incorporate activity and novel experiences into the child’s schedule.
Many children diagnosed with ADHD, quickly pick-up on the social rejection from both peers and adults. Children with ADHD are often blamed and condemned for their uncontrollable impulses and high energy. Moreover, depending on their symptom severity, children diagnosed with ADHD commonly struggle academically which can lead to embarrassment and low self-esteem. It is essential that child care professionals maintain a supportive environment by highlighting the child’s unique strengths and providing verbal praises for their effort and even small achievements. Child care professionals should be trained to avoid negative reactions to disruptive and seemingly defiant behaviors. Parents and child care professionals should encourage guided playdates to prevent feelings of rejection from peers. ADHD can be a challenging enough for both the child and childcare workers. It is essential that parents choose professionals that know the unique needs of the child and ways to care for them holistically.
Arnold, L. E. (2001). Alternative Treatments for Adults with Attention‐Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 931(1), 310-341.
Pelsser, L. M., Frankena, K., Buitelaar, J. K., & Rommelse, N. N. (2010). Effects of food on physical and sleep complaints in children with ADHD: a randomised controlled pilot study. European journal of pediatrics, 169(9), 1129-1138.