Even though a child has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), that does not mean he or she needs to be labeled and stuck into a category. Many, many children with ADD today can and do learn to overcome their limitations and far exceed expectations, competing well with those who do not have the disorder.
Studies show that the earlier a child is diagnosed and the earlier treatment begins, the better chance there is for success. In other words, early intervention is KEY.
There are many ways to help children who have ADD. First of all, let the child know that you care (and love him or her, if appropriate, as in the case of relatives). Sometimes after a diagnosis, youngsters may think your opinions of them have changed and that you think less of them. So let them know that this is not the case at all, even share an imperfection of your own with them to let them know you work on issues, too, and did as a child.
Also, let children know that you support them in their challenge and struggles with ADD. And try your best to express your support with positive remarks, praise, encouragement and any help you can.
Good Days, Bad Days
Note there will be good days and bad days in dealing with the ADD, just as there are with anything else. And no one is perfect. So remember the better days when bad ones roll around and keep on hanging in there! It may help a lot to keep a journal. Jot down notes, (and dont worry about spelling and grammar- just have fun with it), include school grades, pictures, etc. Make it multi-media, if possible, and colorful. Then during bad times, youll have plenty of reminders in your journal of the progress to date and be proud and encouraged for the both of you.
Another way to help a child with ADD is to get help yourself. Learn all you can about ADD and keep up with advances in the industry. Reach out to ADD organizations and get on their mailing lists. Clip magazine articles about ADD and follow up with any resources they share. Ask you own healthcare provider for ADD information, check out library books on the subject, bookmark ADD websites and sign up for their free newsletters, etc. Start a folder for ADD information and put your contacts and resources there.
Then share these resources and tips with other people in the childs network; his or her teachers, parents / guardians and other concerned relatives, pastor, etc. That way you can all share your support and concerns and help one another help the child.
Of course, recommend diagnostic testing as soon as possible to make sure of the ADD diagnosis, if this is in your area of responsibility. If not, maybe you can offer support and the ADD information in your resources to the one(s) responsible for making that decision.
Next level up, see how YOU can participate in hands-on help with the ADD child. Maybe you can offer tutoring, reading assistance, help with organizational or other behavioral skills? Maybe you can help teach study skills like using 3X5 cards and colored markers. Maybe conduct practice verbal and written quizzes a little every other day. Maybe offer the caretakers (if they are not you) a day off. Maybe simply offer to gather more information. Volunteer to join the team and see what you can do to help.
Note when you do this, depending upon your role in the childs life and your level of support, you may need to complete some specialized training first. A workshop or series of training sessions from qualified ADD professionals may be in order so that you can learn how to best help the child.
Youll need to learn how to teach problem solving, how to reward positive behaviors and reply to negative behaviors, how to develop a game plan and strategy, monitor and log results, identify and focus on strengths, handle weakness and much more. So have patience and be open to learning on your end. And dont be afraid to follow up, ask questions, etc. in short, be a team player!