ADHD,ADHD Children,ADHD Parents


New Claims by ADHD Specialists

Success in Life is the Goal of ADHD Treatment

Raising successful children is hard under the best of circumstances.  When a child is being treated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), everyone needs to work harder to provide the child with a solid foundation for successful outcomes later in life.

Any parent of a child with ADHD quickly becomes aware of how challenging it can be to get ADHD kids the help that they need to find relief from their symptoms.    Parents desire to make everything better for their child is natural and is the result of our readiness to protect and nurture the ones we love.   Yet, it is this desire to help and the desire to protect that often makes fighting Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder so frustrating.   It is often very difficult just knowing what to do, how to do it, or even where to start.  The fact is, it is very easy to become overwhelmed by ADHD. That is because ADHD is a serious condition with has many dimensions at home, at school and in most every area of a child’s life.

It is true that many parents often first learn of their child’s ADHD symptoms from teachers.  Elementary school teachers are especially observant of children and often are the first source of feedback about how your child’s ADHD symptoms are disruptive in the classroom. ADHD children are often overly active, visit excessively with their classmates or daydream and just can’t seem to tune into the tasks at hand.   Just because school may have been the source where you first learned about your child’s ADHD symptoms, his or her developing brain doesn’t stop at the classroom door.

Medications are frequently the first line of defense in successfully managing ADHD symptoms.  However, many parents and pediatricians still hold onto the misguided belief that medications are only used to help ADHD children be successful in the classroom. While ADHD medications do often dramatically reduce complaints from teachers during the school day, it is important to understand that life in a classroom is only a portion of a child’s life.  These same ADHD symptoms don’t just somehow magically disappear when the school day ends.  Nor do children somehow acquire ADHD once they get to school.  If you have a child with ADHD, then you probably know that your child’s ADHD symptoms start when the child awakes in the morning, and often does not seem to remit until the child is fast asleep in the evening.   If we only provide relief from ADHD symptoms in the classroom, then we fail to realize the full impact the disorder has on a child’s life and ultimately parents are limiting the child’s full potential for future success in life.

While a decrease in complaints about your child’s disruptive ADHD behavior or  receiving better grades on tests is a welcome change, this progress is often misinterpreted as the child being “cured”.  It is easy to forget that a child’s behavior in the classroom is only part of the big picture of life.  Many parents are still frustrated and confused to find that despite improvements at school, homework, dinner time, and settling for bedtime are still a battle.

Parents unknowingly expect their child to focus and concentrate on homework and family life without having the proper ADHD medications on board to make that possible.  They are surprised to learn that most ADHD medications diminished in effectiveness as the school day ends. Very often the medication is completely worn off by the time the child arrives home.  This creates problems as the ADHD child moves from the more supportive and structured environment of school to a more varied and unstructured home environment.  This increase in variables, and decrease in structure can cause a spike in ADHD symptoms and make life at home very difficult for the child as well as for the family.

ADHD medication is not a “magic bullet” that relieves parents and teachers of dealing with a child’s disruptive symptoms.  It is not the pills that teach our children skills, that is the job of caring parents and skilled teachers. What ADHD medication can do is give a child a sense of clarity, a time to pause before speaking or acting, as well as improve neurocognitive functioning so that information can be stored, retrieved and processed more accurately.   This creates an opportunity to learn how to be successful and to learn new skills.  Medication also allows children to focus more and pay attention better. When kids can pay attention better they are able to build new skill sets and remember what they have learned previously and apply that knowledge when faced with new life events and challenges.

Home and family life provides many important opportunities for children to learn and grow. The critical lessons learned through interactions at home and after school teach children to recognize social cues and to maneuver through interpersonal relationships in the future. Without medication children miss these cues and are often delayed (as much as 30-40% behind their peers) in learning how to develop and handle complex emotional and social circumstances.

Loving parents will do anything for their kids, yet many are hesitant to fully provide their child with an optimal chance to achieve their best.  The stigma of medicating a child, often provoked by sensationalist media stories, can create a prison of doubt and guilt for parents.

“Am I medicating my child too much?  Will he or she become addicted to drugs later in life?”  Shortchanging your child’s developmental years by reducing or eliminating proper dosages of ADHD medication is a decision based more on fear and shame then reliable medical information.

Seeking relief from the exhausting and disruptive behavior of an ADHD child is frequently an initial motivation to begin treatment.  Left untreated, and without the proper structure, guidance and lifestyle changes, ADHD children can drain our emotional resources, deprive siblings of needed parental attention and drag entire families into an endless spiral of battles over homework, oppositional behavior and even arrests and incarceration if the condition is left untreated.

Without treatment, guidance, and lifestyle changes, ADHD children grow up believing that they are somehow defective and are robbed of the precious esteem building that occurs after school and during time with the family.  The question arises: why would a parent deprive their child of a treatment that will help them avoid these negative outcomes?  Certainly, no loving parent could conceive of such a choice.  Yet, this is the choice parents make when they limit their child’s medication to time spent in the classroom.

Taking ADHD medication is akin to a child wearing glasses.  Like glasses, ADHD medications help a child to focus, allow a child to see things clearly, and give children the ability to see life as it is.  As long as a person wears their glasses, they have relief from their vision problems, when they remove their glasses, the vision problems return. This is how we think of ADHD medication. When medication is on board, then the symptoms of ADHD remit, when the medication is removed or wears off, then the symptoms of ADHD return.  No one would ever think to ask that a child to only wear glasses during the school day, but not at home. Yet this is often what parents and pediatricians are doing when they only medicate for the school day.

As a child grows to adulthood, every experience shapes and influences their cognitive ability, emotional health, even their bodily safety.  The cumulative results are all influenced by brain chemistry.  Why then, does it make sense to deprive a child of optimized brain chemistry at any moment in the day?  If your child needs glasses to see properly, would you want the job of picking and choosing when your child could wear their glasses and when they could not? Of course, no parent would ever dream of  limiting the amount of time a child can see clearly or read without tremendous difficulty. Yet, this is the very dilemma that uninformed parents find themselves in when trying to understand what is the proper course of action for treating their child’s ADHD.  Caring parents become concerned that their children will become “zombies”, “have changed personalities” and will “lose out on being kids”, if they give them ADHD medication.

The fact is that without proper medication these children often become “the odd one out”, “never live up to their potential” and never learn the skills necessary to be able to successfully live in the world without their parent’s direct support.

When parents have the courage to let go of their desire for an ADHD child’s complete compliance, when they risk being flexible and understanding, children learn to rise to the occasions of life and chaos becomes replaced with success.  When parents arm themselves with the scientific knowledge of experts in the treatment of ADHD they too will find relief in experiencing the joy that is found in raising an amazing ADHD child.  Can any parent of an ADHD child let another day pass knowing they’re not providing that brain the medication it so desperately needs to function well and achieve success in life?


  1. Carolyn Hale Louie

    Thanks for the informative article. These behaviors describe exactly what we are going through with my nine year old. Robert, you are so insightful and helpful. -CHL

  2. chcnell

    Instead of touting ADHD medicine maybe we should be looking into the potential underlying causes of the symptoms. Just because there are “limited studies” on diet,food and environmental sensitivities, etc. does not mean that they shouldn’t be the first line of defense. Methamphetamines should never be the very first line of defense for anything until a full analysis of the child has taken place. That includes looking into food/environmental sensitivities, diet, and vitamin deficiencies. Then once all items are ruled out for EACH INDIVIDUAL child the medications should be evaluated.

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Most medical doctors who treat ADD/ADHD do so as part of a larger practice. ADHD Specialists focuses primarily on only treating ADD and related conditions. This intense focus allows us to continually sharpen our clinical skills, attend specialized training, utilize the latest therapies, and build our process to meet the specific needs of our clients.

Often medical, testing and counseling services are all separately owned and located practices. It just does not make sense to have to travel from one location to another to treat the same condition. Besides the issue of time and travel, how cohesive and effective is care being delivered in multiple locations by multiple, unrelated providers who don’t have time to talk to each other?

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