A Complete and
by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Michael I. Reiff, M.D., FAAP, Editor in Chief with Sherill Tippins
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be one of the more frustrating conditions for a child to get diagnosed with, especially for parents.
After all, treatments, even when they are effective, only last 10-12 hours. So parents are often left dealing with their child's ADHD symptoms, like hyperactivity, getting easily distracted, being impulsive and having a short attention span, which can make discipline and day to day life tough.
And kids with ADHD often have other conditions, such as learning disabilities and behavior problems, which can also be difficult to control.
But the thing that is likely the most frustrating is the lack of help and information that parents often get from doctors, teachers, daycare providers, etc. Since everyone your child comes into contact with probably won't be an expert on ADHD, it is up to you to learn as much as you can about your child's diagnosis so that you can become your child's case manager, coordinating things between your child's teachers, doctors, etc.
There are already plenty of good books about ADHD to help parents, including Taking Charge of ADHD, by Russel Barkely, and Driven To Distraction, by Edward M. Hallowell, but this new book from the American Academy of Pediatrics is really the first that can call itself 'A Complete and Authoritative Guide,' as it includes information about diagnosing ADHD, treatments, behavior therapy, getting help at school, and identifying coexisting conditions.
ADHD - A Complete and Authoritative Guide begins with a discussion of core symptoms and when you should suspect that your child might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Is your child much more hyperactive, impulsive or inattentive that other children of the same age?
- Are these symptoms leading to 'chronic problems in daily functioning?'
- Are your child's symptoms occuring in more than one setting, such as both at home and at school or daycare?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then your child might indeed have ADHD and should have further evaluation. Remember, 'for a child's condition to be diagnosed as ADHD, all 3 of these conditions - not just 1 or 2 - must be met.'
The next chapter, 'Does My Child Have ADHD? Evaluation and Diagnosis', describes what can and should happen when your child gets evaluated for ADHD. Depending on who you see, these ADHD evaluations can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours, so it is important for parents to know what should be included in a thorough evaluation that follows the AAP Diagnostic Guidelines for ADHD.
I especially like that the book includes early warning signs that parents should look for and how the common symptoms of ADHD, including inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, can change over time from early childhood to adolescence.
Like most books about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD - A Complete and Authoritative Guide includes a thorough section on the medications used to treat ADHD, including the stimulants like Concerta and Adderall XR, and the new medication Strattera. A nice attention is talking about the use of medications and other treatments in terms of a Treatment Plan with goals and target outcomes for each of your child's symptoms and problems.
The parts of the book that are likely going to be the most helpful for parents include the General Measures for caring for a child with ADHD at Home, including tips for structuring your child's home environment (sticking to a daily schedule, cutting down on distractions, organizing your house, using charts and checklists, limiting choices, and setting small goals that are likely to be reachable), educating your child and family members about ADHD, and becoming an advocate for your child.
Other great chapters include 'Behavior Therapy: Parenting Techniques That Work' with basic rules (praising, ignoring, and punishing) to use when responding to your child's behavior, learning to give clear commands, and other effective behavioral techniques.
The chapter on 'Your Child at School' will help you learn about terms that too many parents are unaware of, including IDEA, IEP, and Section 504, suggestions to address specific areas of academic difficulties, and homework tips for parents, so that you can get your child any extra help he needs at school.
Other tips the book recommends include:
- using a daily school-home report card to get quick feedback on how well your child is doing
- identifying coexisting conditions, such as disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Tourette syndrome, OCD, and learning disabilities, which can commonly accompany ADHD
- how to evaluate (and avoid) unproven treatments for ADHD, such as supplemental diets, megavitamin therapy, elimination diets, optometric training and biofeedback.
- creating an Academic Contract to help your teenager with ADHD
The chapters on 'ADHD in Adolescence' and 'A Look at Your Child's Future' are also helpful and can help a parent understand what their child's life might be like in high school, college and beyond.
If you think your child might have ADHD or he has already been diagnosed and you still have a lot of questions, then ADHD - A Complete and Authoritative Guide would be a great book for you to read.
Rating: 5 stars
Find more books about ADHD and more books from the American Academy of Pediatrics, on such topics as breastfeeding, potty training, allergies, nutrition, and asthma.