ADHD is the best-known new childhood disorder of the last decade.
The rate of increase in diagnosis is soaring – worldwide, but particularly in Western countries. The types and forms of ADHD treatment for children have also been growing and developing rapidly, since ADHD was first defined.
These days – it is crucial for parents to be well-informed.
For the Right ADHD Treatment – First Get the Diagnosis Right
First of all, proper diagnosis is an important part of getting the picture right. Even here – parents should be aware that mis-diagnosis is a common occurrence, particularly with doctors who have not specifically specialized in this field. So always be ready to ask questions and understand the basis for the diagnosis.
Ensure that similar disorders have been tested for – such as dyslexia, executive function disorder, visual or auditory processing disorders and emotional difficulties.
The opposite can also be true – what may look like memory problems, clumsiness or emotional difficulties may actually be secondary symptoms of an attention disorder.
Treatment for Children with ADHD – Know Your Alternatives
There are 3 major options for treating children diagnosed with ADHD.
1. The leading treatment is medication.
The reason is first and foremost because doctors and neurologists prescribe treatments based on evidence and research. Medication – to date – has been repeatedly shown to be the most effective and fast-acting treatment available.
2. The second most common form of treatment is behavioral treatment.
This involves working with a trained psychologist or other health professional over a relatively long period of time in order to help your child learn how to become aware and then modify and control his own behavior.
Each treatment has its drawbacks and its advantages. The above treatments are effective – even more so when used together.
3. The Most Effective Alternative: Cognitive Training
Researchers and professionals are divided as to the core cause of ADHD. However, regardless whether it is neurological, cognitive or behavioral – it is clear that cognitive training is effective and helpful for children with ADD/ADHD. So even while taking medication or behavioral therapy – it is crucial not to neglect strengthening children’s cognitive abilities – working memory, attention, concentration, focus, response speed and more.
While treatment with medication helps many children improve their functioning relatively quickly – medication used over a long period of time can actually lead to a decline in your child’s overall cognitive abilities! Similar to the way in which a crutch can help a child with a broken leg to walk – but will still leave him requiring physiotherapy in order to strengthen and challenge his leg muscles in order for them not to atrophy.
Clinical research shows that professional cognitive training – structured and designed based on scientific study – stimulates the frontal lobe of the brain resulting in greater levels of dopamine receptivity as well as balanced brain activity.
This kind of activity has the potential to change the brain when used properly. This kind of treatment can be used together with other treatments – or as a standalone approach. Either way, it provides an excellent tool for children to both strengthen their attention, focus, memory and executive functions – and to improve and even completely overcome ADHD.