ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder. That means that it delays the way the brain develops the connections leading to normal function in certain areas. Well connected brains can sustain attention, regulate emotions, resist impulses and regulate motor activity. Less well connected brains, well, you know…Until those connections catch up, parents are filling the void on organization, completing tasks and providing time management. Parents are reminding, giving the same instructions over and over while they go in one ear and out of the other over and over. Inescapably this leads to frustration and resentment. Parents try punishment and kids get angrier and angrier. Parents just want their kids with ADHD to be responsible and kids with ADHD just want to stop getting yelled at. So, if reminders, yelling and restricting privileges don’t work, what will? How about regularly treating the problem that is leading to the symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity? Most parents try everything before they try the one thing that has been consistently shown to be safe and effective for more than thirty years, stimulant medication. ‘Pills don’t build skills’ is the common mantra. Maybe so, but kids with ADHD aren’t likely to build skills until their underlying problems with chemical brain connections are corrected any more that continuing to yell in a cell phone with poor reception is likely to help the person at the opposite end understand you. Stimulant medication corrects those connections on day one for many kids. At that point they can begin paying attention to good discipline and parenting strategies. Over time this is their best chance to catch up on their executive function skills. Medication helps kids make the connections that level the road to maturity and independence.
At age 6 parents are still doing almost everything for kids but by age 8 they should manage their own book bag. By age 12 they must manage a locker and by 16 we expect them to manage an automobile. How are they going to be ready for independence at 18 if we don’t use medication regularly to manage their connection issues so that they can pay attention to parenting and educational strategies? Growing up is hard enough. Isn’t it time to level the road to independence for your child?