Could Your Child Have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Does your grade-schooler, teen, or young adult struggle to stay focused? When asked to complete homework, chores, or other tasks, do they have a hard time getting started, skip steps, or forget to finish? You may be frustrated by this apparent misbehavior, especially if your child seems able to focus on things like art, music, or video games just fine.
Does your child act before thinking? They may have a hard time waiting their turn in line or blurt out answers in school without raising their hand. They might ignore the rules when playing sports or games or have emotional outbursts, making it difficult for them to make friends.
Does your child lag behind their peers developmentally? Do they struggle academically or gravitate toward games more suitable for younger children? If they are inattentive or miss important social cues, others might mistake them as unintelligent or rude.
Is your child unable to sit still for long periods of time? You may loathe to take them out in public, fearing the looks of annoyance or judgment you sometimes get from strangers. People may tell you that your child needs more discipline, or worse, imply that you’re a bad parent.
If your child exhibits many of the behaviors above, you may be wondering whether they have ADHD and, if so, whether there is anything you can do to help them.
ADHD Is Very Common In Children
According to the American Psychiatric Association, an estimated 8 percent of children have ADHD, but some believe the actual number to be higher. ADHD often co-occurs with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, and conduct disorders, complicating its diagnosis. As such, many experts believe that ADHD is underdiagnosed, especially in children with inattentive type ADHD (a type of ADHD that doesn’t involve hyperactivity).
Some may view an ADHD diagnosis as an excuse for parenting problems or disobedient children. However, ADHD is a well-documented disorder with a scientific basis in biology. Research into the disorder is still ongoing, but multiple studies like the one in 2017 at Radboud University have demonstrated visible differences between scans of “normal” brains and those of children with ADHD.
Modern society is not structured to bring out the best in children with ADHD. An increasing focus on academic work and a deemphasis on physical fitness has created a challenging environment for affected children. While ADHD cannot be “cured,” practical accommodations, therapy, and sometimes medication can help children with ADHD grow into happy, successful adults.
In fact, the intelligence, creativity, and passion that often characterize individuals with ADHD make them well-suited for many leadership roles—including entrepreneurs and CEOs. Given the right support and conditions, your child can regain their confidence, alleviate their anxiety and depression, and function successfully in society.
ADHD Treatment For Kids
Before ADHD counseling can begin, an affirmative diagnosis must be made. Once you’ve scheduled an initial session with one of our therapists, we’ll gather information on your child through a detailed questionnaire and discussions with your family. When appropriate, we may refer your child for a neuropsychological assessment to get a fuller picture of their situation.
Successful treatment for ADHD in children begins with getting to know each child beyond their diagnosis, including both their challenges and strengths. To that end, we offer a safe, supportive environment where your child can open up.
If your son or daughter is shy or has difficulty communicating thoughts and feelings, we can help them to express and advocate for themselves through non-verbal means such as drawing, music, and games. By observing their behavior during a board game, for example, we can gather a wealth of information about how they interact with others. We might learn that they struggle to follow rules, are afraid to take risks, or tend to lose their temper. We can help your child to feel heard and understood. As they learn to label and understand their feelings, they will be better able to make sense of their inner and outer world.
Active listening by our counsellors will be key to helping your child normalize and validate their frustrations. Many children with ADHD have been told that they are careless or stupid by individuals ignorant of their condition. We’ll show your child that they are not alone and reacquaint them with their own strengths to help them overcome any negative thoughts they may have internalized.
We’ll suggest practical ways for you, their teachers, and others to bring out the best in them. For example, if your child consistently turns in homework assignments late, we can introduce new organization systems or digital tools to support them. If they struggle to express their emotions in healthy ways, we can create visual tools that invite them to be more aware of their emotional state.
As treatment progresses, we’ll continue to involve you to gather feedback and brainstorm new ideas. With your consent, we can also collaborate with your child’s school or other service providers to ensure consistency.
ADHD involves a complex constellation of symptoms which vary from child to child. For some, ADHD treatment without medication may be possible. For others, medication will be an essential piece of the treatment puzzle. We recommend that any medications prescribed be used as a supplement to—not a replacement for—the psychological techniques we may employ (including breathing exercises, parent work, play therapy, etc.). To that end, we’ll collaborate with your child’s psychiatrist or recommend a prescriber as part of an integrative approach to treatment.
ADHD is highly treatable. Therapy isn’t always a linear process, but supporting your child during their formative years can help them grow into happy, independent adults.
As you consider ADHD treatment for your child, you may wonder. . .
Should I put my child on medication or try ADHD therapy without drugs?
For some children, the difference between being on medication and being off it is like night and day, but it’s not the best option for every child. Here at Cope With School NYC, neither our therapists nor the psychiatrists we work with will pressure you one way or the other, only give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
What if my spouse or partner isn’t on board with the idea of ADHD counseling?
ADHD is a complex disorder that often requires a team of people to overcome. Involving an objective therapist can provide a new perspective you may not have thought of. ADHD counselling can also break the cycle of reactivity many ADHD-affected families fall into. If you’re worried that a stranger won’t be able to help your child, you can rest assured that we seek out your input, feedback, and support throughout treatment and make it a priority to get to know your child.
Won’t my child just grow out of this?
It is a common misconception that ADHD only occurs in children. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, however, up to 60% of childhood cases persist into adulthood, with the hyperactivity that characterized their younger years often transforming into restlessness, disorganization, and depression. A child is at their most receptive now, before they reach adulthood. Juggling therapy with school and other responsibilities may feel challenging, but it may be even more difficult for your child to get help once they’re juggling a job, adult relationships, and children of their own.
Bring Out The Best In Your Child With ADHD Counseling
When you give your child the self-confidence and tools they need to succeed, you set the groundwork for a happier and more independent adult life. Our compassionate therapists can help your child stop feeling like an outcast and build the confidence to participate more fully in their lives.
If you’re looking for an ADHD therapist in Manhattan near the Upper West Side, we offer a convenient location on 79th Street, near the American Museum of Natural History. Contact us today for a free 10-minute phone consultation so we can discuss your child’s needs and answer any questions you may have about our ADHD treatment center. We offer individual therapy for grade school students, teens, and young adults. We also offer youth therapy groups to help your child acquire important social skills and parental counselling to help you give your child the structure and support they need.