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Managing ADHD: How to Handle a Hyperactive Child without Drugging Them into a Stupor. By: Tara Churchwell and Kelsi Capizzi November 19, 2010. Predominantly Inattentive Type. Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type. What does ADHD look like?.

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managing adhd how to handle a hyperactive child without drugging them into a stupor

Managing ADHD:How to Handle a Hyperactive Child without Drugging Them into a Stupor

By: Tara Churchwell

and KelsiCapizzi

November 19, 2010

what does adhd look like
Predominantly Inattentive Type

Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type

What does ADHD look like?
  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention.
  • Does not appear to listen.
  • Struggles to follow through on instructions.
  • Has difficulty with organization.
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
  • Loses things.
  • Is easily distracted.
  • Is forgetful in daily activities.
  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair.
  • Has difficulty remaining seated.
  • Runs about or climbs excessively.
  • Difficulty engaging in activities quietly.
  • Acts as if driven by a motor.
  • Talks excessively.
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
  • Difficulty waiting or taking turns.
  • Interrupts or intrudes upon others.
diagnosis of adhd is out of control
Diagnosis of ADHD is Out of Control
  • The normal misconduct of children often gets shuffled into the category of ADHD symptoms. Some circumstances that can be misdiagnosed as ADHD include:
    • Gifted Students who aren’t sufficiently challenged in school.
    • Lack of proper nutrition in the child’s diet
    • No other structured outlet for a child’s energy.
    • Lack of attention from the parents.
    • A disruption or lack of a daily schedule.

Despite the confusion, the number of ADHD diagnoses is on the rise.

According to thisNational Survey of Children’s Health diagramshowing the state-based prevalence data of ADHD medication treatment, the percent of youth 4-17 ever diagnosed with ADHD was between 2.1-3.4% in Utah in 2003. This means that an average classroom of 30 students has about 1 student taking medication for ADHD.


The National Survey of Children’s Health produced this diagram in 2007 showing the state-based prevalence data of ADHD diagnosis. Only four short years after the original diagram, the percent of youth 4-17 ever diagnosed with ADHD doubled in Utah to 5.6-7.9%. This means that the average classroom containing 30 students would have 2 students diagnosed with ADHD.

why should i care that more children are being medicated for adhd
Why Should I Care that More Children Are Being Medicated for ADHD?
  • There is no precise way to diagnose a child with ADHD.
  • Tests have shown that the medicated subjects were more prone to depressive-like behaviors as adults.
  • Medication doesn’t teach children how to handle themselves in difficult situations.
  • The long term side effects are not yet understood.
  • Medication only treats the symptoms. It does not solve the problem.
so what are my options if my child is hyperactive or inattentive
So What Are My Options If My Child Is Hyperactive or Inattentive?

Doctors Provide These


  • Ritalin
  • Adderall
  • Concerta
drugs are not the answer
Drugs are NOT the Answer

Side effects of ADHD

medications include:

  • Decrease of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood Pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia
  • Dry Mouth
  • Stomach Pains
  • Vomiting
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Liver Problems
here are a few of the most effective alternatives that don t involve medication
Here Are a Few of the Most Effective Alternatives that Don’t Involve Medication.
  • Decide If Your Child Is Merely Bored at School
  • Evaluate You Child’s Environment at Home
  • Provide other Positive Outlets for Your Child’s Energy
  • Improve Your Child’s Diet
  • Work with a Behavior Therapist
decide if your child is merely bored at school
Decide If Your Child Is Merely Bored at School.
  • There are many similarities between gifted students who are bored in school versus students with ADHD.
    • Highly Active
    • Tendency to Daydream/Not Pay Attention
    • Difficulty Restraining Desire to Talk
    • Questions Rules, Customs, and Traditions
    • Low Tolerance for Tasks that seem Irrelevant
    • Lose/Forget Homework and Are Disorganized
    • Highly Sensitive to Criticism
  • Gifted children need more stimulation, less repetition, and challenging assignments to keep their attention.

There are many educational programs available that work with gifted students. At home, try providing physical reminders (clocks, chore charts, etc.) and tangible rewards to help your child focus.

evaluate your child s environment at home
Evaluate Your Child’s Environment at Home
  • Do they have a set routine?
    • Children know what to expect.
    • Bedtime and preparation for school are much easier if there is already a structure in place.
  • Are you using effective discipline techniques?
    • Avoid repeating patterns of inappropriate behavior followed by ineffective punishment.
    • Avoid administering consequences without prior warning or without the child understanding why he or she is receiving them.
    • Avoid responding inconsistently to inappropriate behaviors.
  • Is there a stable emotional environment at home?
    • Children crave attention from their parents. If they can’t get enough positive attention, they will settle for negative attention.
  • Trained therapists can help teach children how to control their impulsiveness, aggression, and hyper activeness.
provide other positive outlets for your child s energy
Provide other Positive Outlets for Your Child’s Energy
  • Recess time is being cut in favor of more class time which clashes with children’s high levels of energy.
  • Enroll your child in an extracurricular sport that requires at lot of energy to perform (soccer, basketball, etc.).
    • This will give them a structured outlet for their energy while teaching them valuable lessons in teamwork and respect for a coach.
improve your child s diet
Improve Your Child’s Diet
  • Studies have shown that deficiencies in Omega-3, thiamine, vitamin B-6, or folic acid can cause impulsivity, irritability, and aggressiveness.
  • A healthy diet could potentially cure your child’s ADHD symptoms.
  • Foods to include:
  • Seafood
  • Walnuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Flax Seed
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Soybeans
  • Romaine
  • Collard Greens
  • Strawberries
work with a behavioral therapist
Work with a Behavioral Therapist
  • Find some outside help for you, so you can better help your child.
  • You have the opportunity to teach your child a lot. Make sure you are teaching them the right kinds of lessons.
  • You are not the first person to struggle with an unruly child. There is a lot of good advice out there.
  • Each of these suggested changes can be stressful and intimidating. Allow yourself some professional help.
now it s up to you what choice will you make

Now It’s Up to You.What Choice Will You Make?

When a child starts acting up in school, parents really only have two options; begin a medication regimen or take the time to work with your child to teach them valuable life lessons.

As adults, making important, life changing decisions for very young children, we should not resort to drugs until we have exhausted every other possibility to correct unwanted behaviors.