7 Essential Building Blocks of an ADHD Treatment PlanApr 21, 2021
Raising a child with ADHD can feel like an obstacle course in physical and emotional survival. Children with ADHD struggle with a wide range of self-regulating skills including focus, organization, recalling short-term memory on demand, and regulating impulsive emotions and actions; thus, the day-to-day challenges can be overwhelming!
And rightly so!
Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Each child's diagnosis is as unique as they are. While one child may only present signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity, another child may present ADHD symptoms that overlap with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and anxiety; thus, the approach to treatment is dependent upon each child's individual diagnosis.
The good news is that regardless of the diagnosis, the first building block to any successful ADHD treatment plan starts with home!
Below are 7 essential building blocks of an ADHD Treatment Plan.
1) Get Organized
Unfortunately when we get busy, one of the first things to go to the wayside is organization! Organization is an invaluable tool to help your child learn self-regulating skills.
- Use a calendar to organize family schedules, activities, school events and more.
- Place the calendar in a visible area and refer to it frequently.
- Teach your child the power of organization.
Evidence suggests a clean space promotes calm and restorative energy. Ask yourself, is all this clutter necessary? De-cluttering can be an emotional process, so break it up into smaller bite-sized tasks!
- Toss out broken items, old magazines, and other non-essentials.
- Donate old clothes, toys and books.
- Splurge on cute containers and new shelving to organize each room!
3) Provide a Healthy Diet
A study by UCLA showed that a diet high in fructose (sugar) slows the brain and negatively impacts memory and learning. Conversely, DHA (omega-3's) and protein are essential to brain function and can help minimize damage. Keep it simple, but healthy!
- Granola cereal with blueberries and walnuts.
- Peanut butter and honey on whole-wheat bread with a banana.
- Baked chicken with green salad and fresh fruit.
4) Create Routines
Getting an ADHD child out the door on time can feel like herding cats! Therefore, a little preparation can go a long way. Create a morning and evening routine to keep your child focused and eliminate the last minute scramble.
- ADHD kids are visual, so provide a written routine and hang it in a highly visible area.
- Designate a space for each child's backpack, shoes, coat and sports equipment.
- If your child has a hard time remembering his/her school items, place a checklist on the wall above their bag!
5) Refocus Energy
Finding healthy ways to redirect a child's energy can provide multiple benefits, especially if extracurricular activities reinforce self-regulating skills.
- After school sports, clubs and academic programs.
- Local youth center programs such as the YMCA and Scouts.
- Outdoor activities including swimming, hiking, rock-wall climbing and bike riding.
6) Encourage Downtime
Similar to the body, the brain needs rest to function properly. Helping a child learn to self-regulate with downtime is crucial to improve focus. Eliminate screen-time at least one hour before bed as blue light inhibits melatonin production, which in turn interferes with a child's ability to sleep.
- Create a dedicated reading or drawing time at least 30 minutes prior to bed.
- A bath with epsom salts (magnesium) can help relax a child's body and mind.
- Create a calming atmosphere in child's room with lamps, soft blankets and no technology!
7) Prioritize Sleep
A study by Dalhousie University discovered that sleep deprivation can occur with as little as one hour less of sleep per night, negatively impacting a child's ability to focus and learn.
- Provide a minimum of 10 hours of sleep for children under 12, and a minimum of 8 hours of sleep for older children.
- Create and stick to a dedicated sleep routine.
- Magnesium can help offset insomnia so speak with your doctor to determine if this could be a good option for your child.
Ivy Wild Kids is passionate about helping families embrace and organize the wild of ADHD, so children can realize their full potential and families can live happier and healthier lives!
We are so excited you found us and look forward to seeing you in our community!