How do you know when it’s time to work with an ADHD professional?
For some of you, the question is: how do I know when it’s time to work with an ADHD professional, AGAIN.
On the roller coaster called ADHD Parenting, you do a lot of exploring, you get lots of advice (wanted and unwanted), and there are lots of options out there: medication, therapy, coaching, brain training, acupuncture, etc. It can be extremely confusing and overwhelming.
How do you know what to look for and who to call?
Let me make the decision-making much easier for you.
First of all, ADHD isn’t a phase; it doesn’t get better with a “wait and see” approach. The only reason to wait would be because your child is under 7 or 8 years old. Otherwise, even without problems, the earlier your family gets the help you need or may need, the easier your lives become. You’ll be getting a jump on future problems that often arise a few years later, at key points during adolescence and into college. You want to set up structures or systems early on when parenting ADHD kiddos.
3 signs that it’s now time to bring in professional help
- Your child isn’t doing well in school and the teachers have told you that they don’t know what else to do. There are still solutions, but chances are the teachers don’t know them. To be fair, teachers get minimal training in teaching ADHD children because it’s still often assumed that ADHD = misbehavior, and misbehavior can be solved with punishment or medication. It is rare for ANYONE to really understand the motives behind ADHD and misbehavior, which are easily addressed. Who to call for help: An ADHD professional, one that has been a teacher and has ADHD him/herself, can help you address the school’s concerns and coach you in writing an effective 504 plan or IEP and getting it accepted by the school
- Your child mentions being depressed, overwhelmed, stressed out, or lonely. They may also have tantrums or meltdowns. If you find yourself having to calm or reassure your child several times a week, if they’re destructive to property (yours or someone else’s), or if you worry about the ADHD child’s effect (physical or emotional) on your other children, it’s time to get help. ADHD, in itself, does not create the feelings and behaviors described above; They are signs that something additional is going on. Coaching is not appropriate for these situations – it’s hard for your child to take action when he/she feels so out of control Who to call for help: It’s a good idea to head to a pediatrician or naturopath for a consultation. They may refer you to someone else (like a therapist) or they may have access to various modalities in their own offices. – while therapy may very well be just what “the doctor ordered.”
- Your child and you are fighting regularly, usually about chores, homework, or technology. You yell and your child yells back or withdraws. He or she won’t do chores or homework without a whole lot of nagging, cajoling, hand-wringing, and bargaining. He or she forgets a lot or lies about having done what they’re expected to do. And forget about getting them off their screens! That appears to be torture for them! Who to call for help: You want a coach as opposed to a therapist.
Therapy isn’t for ADHD misbehavior, especially at this level. I’m not against therapy at all, but this is why I don’t feel it’s a good fit at all for ADHD issues:
1) It singles out the child and makes him or her the one with the problem. ADHD isn’t a problem. It isn’t even about bad behavior. Any bad behavior is a result of communication that doesn’t connect (talking and listening), or something other than ADHD. I also believe that working with the family is more effective than working with the child. If the parents aren’t on board, families don’t see much progress in their child. ADHD is a family affair.
2) If you do family therapy, the therapist may still not understand ADHD deeply. It takes decades to really understand the neuro-divergent mind, to see all the variations in play and to learn enough skills that you can customize your strategies to the individual and the family. An ADHD coach who has been focused on just this for years, is more likely to be able to help.
2) Therapy is about talking. As you’ve probably seen time and again, talking isn’t the best way to reach and ADHD child or teen! ADHD is about action and results; kids respond to quick and measurable successes. That’s not therapy.
Coaching is a better option although you want to find someone that DOES NOT use a therapeutic model of one appointment a week. ADHD doesn’t respond to infrequent connection.
What about alternative treatments?
Alternative treatments are good to use from the beginning. You may be able to use this approach for a while, perhaps even a long while. Alternative treatments are great to use in conjunction with meds or coaching or both. I’ve used lots of alternative treatments. I find that they work best when the child or adult already has plenty of coaching under his/her belt, because alternative treatments don’t teach skills. Most often they calm the nervous system or help release toxins. Like medication, they just make it easier to receive the coaching tips, to take them in. They are not a long-term solution.
How are you feeling about having a child with ADHD? Specifically, is the downside outweighing the good?
Copyright 2016 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
Did you know that you can schedule a free 50-minute consultation with me? I love these calls because they are super uplifting, for me included! Schedule your session here.
I so look forward to talking with you!