Great advice from another mom

I’m going to start a whole section on “Things I Wish I Had Written, and I’m Annoyed/Envious That I Didn’t, But This Is So Good/Worthwhile That I’m Going to Swallow My Envy/Pride and Share It!” ….

And under that heading goes a response that “conejoazul” (“blue bunny” in Spanish!) posted on the Cafe Mom forum, for Moms of Preschoolers with ADHD.  By the way, I’m not just posting this because she mentioned our blog as a good resource (Thank you, conejoazul!). I’m posting because of what she says about finding what works for you, tuning out people who judge you and don’t help, and being very aware that the way we deal with our kids’ issues can create other issues along the way. She also mentions several good resources that I didn’t know of and have now checked out, and one issue that I want to explore much, much more (and would appreciate other people’s advice on!).

Here’s the original question, followed by conejoazul’s response:

“My ds was just diagnosed with ADHD and I’m wondering what I can do to help him besides medicine? What worked for your child? At home? At school? What are some good resources I can use to get tips and ideas? Books, websites, etc… Any advice or info is greatly appreciated – TIA!”

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Conejoazul’s response (and by the way, I checked with her to get her permission to reprint):

Book: The Out Of Sync Child actually is related to sensory processing disorder (not specifically ADHD), but I think it is a good read for any family with ADHD children because it talks a lot about all sorts of sensory processing experiences we have well beyond the usual descriptions of sight, touch, smell, etc and can help you as you observe your child from all sorts of angles and how they respond to different stimuli around them.

Since ADHD/ADD is now becoming more clearly understood by neuroscience as biologically based with problems in the brain´s Executive Center Function (and maybe maturing of the brain in that area), any books or specialists that talk about improving your child’s “brain diet”, mindfulness training, or which generally show respect for the biological basis of ADHD may be more helpful than books which are older and don’t take the biological aspects of the condition into account. Personally; I feel like I’ve read more books that weren’t helpful than those that were, but we keep turning pages.

The blog “Walk a Mile in My Issues“, might speak to you and some of the feelings you are going through as a parent who will be learning to live through ADHD for several years.  I would also encourage you to take other talking heads who think ADHD is an imaginary problem and train yourself to tune them out since neuroscience has already proved them wrong and you have more important things to listen to and consider rather than the uneducated babble you will inevitably encounter on the topic.

You didn’t say whether your child already has an occupational therapist or how their ADHD exhibits, but a good “sensory diet” is often key in helping young children to practice the skill of focusing energy and attention in beneficial ways, so sources like Gwen Wild’s Sensational Brain / Brainworks or books like Arnie and His School Tools or Squirmy Wormy might help you bring some elements of occupational therapy or adapted stimulation activities into your home or the classroom.

You may also want to be thinking about the opinion that seems in circulation by many mental health professionals that how we as parents learn to respond to our children with ADHD can go a long way towards avoid other issues such as ODD in older children.  Many mental health professionals are currently voicing the opinion that some cases of ADHD morph into ADHD + ODD in a few short years as children grow tired of parents and teachers who can´t respond to their ADHD effectively and ODD becomes an add-on issue after years of stern parent responses to annoying ADHD behaviors – – – certainly not saying that you treat your child sternly, but most parents of children with ADHD face periods of total burn-out trying to just keep life “between the ditches” so-to-speak, and mental health professionals are talking more and more about how we must ensure that the parents of ADHD children have good support so that they can be a source of improvement for their children rather than become as source of strain for their children.

I wish you luck and am happy for your child that you have identified this issue at a young age.

Because of this, I just checked out the Sensational Brain site, which is very interesting. Martha and I could definitely have used this (and so many other resources) when our kids were little and were first diagnosed with sensory processing issues (along with the rest of the Issues Menu … one from Column A, one from Column B …..).

I’m glad I read this, too, because the whole question of “Executive Function” is still a huge one. Unlike other issues which have gotten much better, become moot, or disappeared entirely (my son no longer turns every restaurant visit into a “Duck and Cover” drill), the Executive Function issue still looms large in my house. In fact, if anyone has some great suggestions for helping organization/motivation/executive function in our grown-up “Jimmy’s”, I would really appreciate hearing it!