Anybody That Deals with Add Kids

Updated on November 18, 2009
S.T. asks from Phoenix, AZ
16 answers

My son was recently diagnosed with having ADD by his physician,he is not on no pills yet or anything of that matter, I just need advice on how you handle them,such as discipline and things like that. Any advice would be appreciated.Thxs.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Get 2nd opinion; talk to Social Worker as well if you know of someone or someone you trust recommends one.
Best of luck, Shirl H.



answers from New York on

A 3 yr old diagnosed and put on add meds? I'd get a second opinion as that is very young and most children have behaviors at that age that are simalar to adhd.

I'm an adult who has had adhd since i was little and still struggle. be patient,be consistant,and routine is a must. The medications for adhd should not be used without heavy consideration as they are a controlled substance. if you do try meds try a non stimulant first.

righting things down can be very helpful. help them stay organized with a calendar of everything that needs to be done each day so they can cross them off as they go. For studying and school work i suggest having the child make flashcards. Just the repition of copying the info down as they are being made helps them remember. Also get a behavioral therapist before you think about meds. somtimes having a professinal who can help them with the areas of weakness they have can help them learn to retrain themselfs to do things a new way that will help them. hope that helped.

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answers from Phoenix on

Be consistent in your discipline. Explain the consequences and follow through with what you say.

BTW before resorting to meds please look into acupuncture and other alternative medicines. They can work wonders for some kids.



answers from Flagstaff on

My son is ADD and I pretty much knew it at 5 yet was anti medications, until he came to me when he was around 9 years old crying saying everything was so hard for him. This made me pursue medication for him and it has worked in his favor. I am also interested in what alternatives there are yet it really is a brain disconnect and as someone said in another email, would you deny your son medication for diabetes or another disease? The medication has definitely helped build his self esteem to the point that he is now involved in a kung fu class and is doing well in it. kung fu is based on non violence, meditation and building confidence. he's only been practicing for maybe 2 months and i can see how good it is for him to be a part of. i'm hoping that he will continue to love it, for his sake. let me know if you find out anything best to you.



answers from Phoenix on

Some programs that have helped us are "Love and Logic" and "ICPS: I Can Problem Solve". But there are so many choices out there. "The Out of Sync Child" is also a must read to differentiate between ADHD and more sensory type issues.
We also do role playing (appropriate social behavior esp with peers) and breaking down simple interactions into "good choice" and "bad choice", besides the obvious routine, consistency, etc. Yelling and spanking have a reverse and very negative effect on ADHD children. So many people think ADHD is an excuse for lack of discipline but this is only because they don't have a child with ADHD and have no idea what it's really like. Discipline with these kids is so much harder for so many reasons: stick to positive reinforcement and earning rewards rather than punishment of any sort but with clear limits and expectations of course.
You said your child was diagnosed with ADD, my understanding is that this diagnosis is no longer used. ADHD should only be cautiously diagnosed before the age of 6.

Medications should be a last resort when all else fails. Look into caffeine, I've read that 100mg of caffeine has the same effect as 5mg of Ritalin without all the negative side effects. Culturally, we are taught not to give our children coffee but it generally helps people with ADHD focus and attend better. Within reason of course, not 5-6 cups as day.

Finally, get his school on board. We initially had our child in a charter school that was ill prepared to serve his needs. Public schools generally have more services and are required to provide what he needs to succeed.
Enjoy all the wonderful qualities of your child!



answers from Phoenix on

Look into
She works with the whole family, not just the child who is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.

Also, try not to get wrapped up in having your son labeled as an "ADD child" It really could be alot of other things that are causing his actions/behaviors that he could be treated without medication.
I read an article in Mothering Magazine from a mom who's son was diagnosed with ADHD and everyone wanted to get him on meds. She refused and decided to work with his energetic unique personality instead. Her son found dance as a great outlet, and grew up to receive a scholarship to a prestigous art college.
Get support for yourself as well with other compassionate parents who have a child diagnosed with a behavior "issue" and are like minded.
Things are not always as they seem. You know your son best, but be determined to be a Mother Warrior for him and not always follow the path of least resistance.

Best Wishes
mom of 4, married 15 years



answers from Phoenix on

S., I can't give you advice but I was curious if you could answer a question for me. I also have a 5 year old son who appears to have ADHD but has not been diagnosed. Because he has such a hard time focusing, we chose to wait another year before putting him in Kindergarten and my pediatrician said they generally can't be diagnosed until they are in school and the behaviors continue in a school setting. Since his 5 year check up (late August), I enrolled him in preschool 2 days a week in addition to the preschool I teach at home. My question is, what types of behaviors is your son exhibiting? What led to his diagnosis? I'm just wondering if my son is doing some of the same things? Oh, I did get the Love and Logic book someone else suggested but I admit I have not read it. I also got 123 Magic and have started that book but have not started the technique. I am anxious to do so! I have a 3 year old as well that is just in need of a better discipline structure. Thanks!



answers from Grand Forks on

My daughter has ADHD. She was diagnosed when she turned 3, but we knew it from the start. She has always been a very hyper child, even in the womb. She is on medication and has done much better. Shes on a low dose and sometimes doesnt need any, but each day is different. We also have a strict schedule, since these kids get distracted easily a schedule is important. Also, dicipline is very hard, but doable. If you say your going to do something, do it. Dont threaten, since adhd and add kids seem to be much smarter than normal they catch on and will learn your weaknesses FAST. I put my daughter in timeout when she does something bad, then make her talk to me about what she did. She has gotten much better after we cracked down on the schedule and dicipline. Good Luck



answers from Phoenix on

My son has ADHD and is currently on Strattera (a non stimulant medication). He's 9 yrs old and we started the meds about 6 months ago. We tried various homeopathic and alternative medicine when he was younger (Grandma is is a D.O. and deals mostly with homeopathic and naturopathic medicine.) Because those weren't time release, we had to have him take it at school at regular intervals, but because they didn't have the prescription label with child dosing, they wouldn't allow us to give it to him at school, and I didn't have the time to personally take him out of school so that I could give it too him every 2-3 hours. Hence, why he's on Strattera currently.

We waited to put him on regular meds because it wasn't affecting his school work until now. We've put him in a school that is highly structured, and we keep things structured at home too. Just don't completely rule out medication. Be informed, and keep all avenues open. Otherwise, you could cut out a solution that might work best for your situation.

For discipline we do timeouts that aren't terribly long, we let him know why he's going to timeout and tell him to think about why what he's done is wrong or inappropriate. He has serious problems with impulse control and is easily distracted. When he was a younger and had a list of things for him to do, I'd tell him one of the things, go check to make sure it was done, and give him the next thing. If it wasn't done or half-way done, I'd have him complete it before giving him the next chore. We've worked up to a detailed chore list that he checks off. He'll tell me when he's done, and I give him a second chance to look over his chore list to make sure he's done everything before I follow-up to check his work.

When he started his meds, I asked him how he felt, and paid more attention to his behavior the first couple weeks. There are quite a number of medications out there, so it's no longer like putting your kid on speed. The stimulant drugs are hard on the adrenal glands and those with ADHD already put a greater stress on the be careful if you decide to use caffeine. One of the supplements we gave our son was a powdered energy drink that had caffeine. Finding the right amount was the trick. Not enough and he might as well have been drinking water, too much and he was even more wired. We also try to stay away from orange and red food dyes. It makes him more aggresive. (His father also had ADHD and suffers the same food allergies.)

Anyway, structure, consistency and not making your son feel that his has a disablity or an excuse for poor behavior pretty much sums up everything. It's more work, but when my husband and I keep up on things, it makes life a lot easier.



answers from Phoenix on

I am a Chiropractic Physician and I see many children in my practice with ADD. There are many causes as well as symptoms that are being looked into for ADD. I have found that with many children upper neck misalignment causes focus and attention issues due to possible pressure on the brain stem. With my oldest child and with many other diagnosed children I have seen a decrease in symptoms with simple chiropractic adjustments. If you would like me to evaluate your son just let me know. You can leave me a message here or call my office at ###-###-####.

Have an amazing day!

Dr. A. Waggoner, D.C.



answers from Phoenix on

My cousin's son is ADHD, like his father. They tried for a long time to avoid medicating, but eventually found that it was the best route for him. He has blossomed in school socially and academically since he started the meds. One thing that they had to do, besides medication, is limit his time watching TV or playing video games. She said that this was really hard at first, because when he was doing those things, he left his sister alone and didn't bug his parents. But TV and video games are known to stimulate the emotional centers in the brain causing the ADHD symptoms to become worse when those things were taken away. For as long as 24 hours after. Now he is allowed a half hour program during the week and can only play video games on Friday night and Saturdays. Never on a Sunday when he has school Monday. His behavior in the classroom is too out of control otherwise.
It works for them. Good luck to you.



answers from Phoenix on

I have dealt with ADD kids for years the best way I find to deal with them is get right down on there level & speak to them eye to eye.. Most ADD kids do not like to be yelled at it just makes them act out even more.. If you keep them on the same schedule they do alot better.. Most ADD kids do not like change.. I would definately get a schedule going & give him plenty of warning's when it is close to changing time from one activity to another..(ex: you have 5 min before we do .... you have 3 min before we do...).. Watch your son also with the medication.. MY daughter was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 5 & the medicine made her so spacy & she lost so much weight she was a 5 yr old wearing a 2T the Dr. even had her only taken a 1/2 a pill we finally said no way & took her off she is now 15 & never had a problem.. So really watch & make sure this is something he really needs.. Good Luck



answers from Phoenix on

Hi S.,
I've been looking through the responses to your request and the biggest issue I have is that ADD & ADHD are not the same thing and I hate all the stereotyping from people who are clueless.
To me, 5 is pretty young for a diagnosis so my question would be, "What brought about this diagnosis?" I totally agree witht the person that recommended a second opinion but this time make sure it is by someone who specializes in ADD/ADHD.
I have two (out of three) children who have ADD. My son wasn't diagnosed until 2nd grade (although we suspected it earlier) and my daughter wasn't diagnosed until 3rd grade. Neither of my children have ADHD (H being for hyperactivity). They just have a horrible time keeping focused and organized. My son took meds until 9th grade. My daughters case is more severe and she will probably be on meds through college (or longer).
I agree with avoiding meds if possible but don't make your child suffer just because you are against them. You wouldn't make a diabetic child go without insulin. TRUE ADD is a chemical imbalance in the brain and sometimes meds are the only answer.
Structure, consistancy, lists (picture lists for age 5), and lots of love and patience is what I recommend.
Some of those books looked good too. I may even check on some of those for myself.
Also, check out to learn more about what ADD/ADHD are and are not.



answers from Flagstaff on

The keeping him on a specific schedule with lists to cross off when he gets older, getting a very patient tudor when he gets older and limit tv, all video games & computer (the best is only allowing it after school on Fridays and some on Saturdays- none if there is school the next day- not in the morning or anytime) are all very good things to do but one thing no one has mentioned yet is diet & exercise.

Children with ADD do very well with a lot of regular exercise and a good diet free of color dyes and preservatives- so eat natural things not processed things and cut the sugar out - use natural substitutes such as agave instead of sugar. Focus on positive reinforcements. Good luck!


answers from Albuquerque on

Hi S.,
I worked with kids, including those with ADD and ADHD, as an OT for 6 years. Here's a story that sticks with me:

I worked with a 5th-grader weekly; and one day he was in my office just bouncing off the walls: not following my instructions. I'm pretty firm with kids, and told him he needed to sit and do his work, and he said, "I don't have to sit still, I have ADHD."

My response was, "I know you have ADHD, but you still have control of your body. Now sit down and work." The response was amazing: he sat right down and got his work done!

He was just repeating what he had heard adults say over and over again: excuses for bad behavior! Please don't do this to your baby. As the years go by: love him; understand him; but most of all, don't make ADD an excuse for him not to try his best every day.

Oh, and lots of play, hugs, and consistent rules don't hurt either :))
Good luck!



answers from Phoenix on


I too have a little boy who was diagnosed with ADHD. The doc wanted to medicate him but I was against it - he just turned 6. After a horrible meeting with a psychologist that I refer to as doctor RX, I was outraged and decided that I was going to take things into my own hands. It was the summer before he was to begin Kindergarden and I was going to see if therapy did in fact work, as doctor RX said only medication will help. I decided that the three things that one needs to be successful in life are as follows:

1) You need to hear a speak well - so I began Speech Therapy with an audiologist. She discovered that he was having hearing issues when it was noisy. This would exhibit itself in the behaviors that are associated with ADD/ADHD

2) You need to write well -- I found a Occupational Therapist that specialized in handwriting. She discovered that he was having issues with his eyes. They were not converging appropriately. Meaning that his eyes were not working together as a team. She sent us to a Behavioral Optometrist.

3) You need to see well -- the Behavioral Optometrist said that yes indeed his eyes were not working together as a team. In fact it was discovered that his eyes were jumping at an alarming rate making anything that he looked at up close move on him. He was delayed, not because of ADHD but because he spent the first 5 years of his life basically hallucinating. He could read an eye chart from 20 feet away but when it came to reading or any type of up close work, it was impossible for him to see. So he got up a ran around. Again, another symptom of ADD/ADHD but it was his eyes not a disease called ADD/ADHD. He went through vision therapy at Advanced Vision & Achievement Center. He is a completely different kid. Everything has gotten easier for him. He has been successful in school and most importantly, he loves it!

I highly recommend getting your son examined by a behavioral optometrist. You can find a doc in your area that does vision therapy by going to It can't hurt and believe me you will be amazed!! Don't turn to drugs until you have tried everything else first. If you want to talk, send me a note and I will get you my phone number.

Good luck!

Ooh -- with discipline, be consistent and praise everything that they do that you like. Praise, praise, praise.

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