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ADHD and Teens: What You Need To Know

Joined: 2/24/2014
Posts: 2
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a behavioral disorder that affects approximately 8%-10% of school age kids, mostly boys. ADHD is most often diagnosed during the early childhood, especially as awareness of the disorder has become more common and understood. It is believed that the earlier diagnosis is made and treatment begins, the better chance an individual has of leading a normal, healthy life.

ADHD is characterized the the inability to concentrate on a task at hand, acting without thinking, or the ability to concentrate for long. Kids affected by the disorder have a hard time holding still in school, paying attention to their teacher, following directions or refraining from pestering their peers. Although these behaviors are common to all children, those suffering from ADHD will present these symptoms consistently and in multiple settings over a long period of time. ADHD impairs social and academic function along with day to day activities. As damaging as this is in younger children, it can be devastating for teens who rely on social interaction for confidence.

ADHD has been frequently misunderstood over the years, however through awareness, proper treatment, medication and therapy, sufferers can learn to manage their symptoms and thrive with the disorder.

Stick to a regular routine – Following a regular routine can be helpful for sufferers of ADHD. Teens have a better chance of being able to regulate themselves if they can consistently know what is expected of them.

Control or Eliminate Distractions – Teens with ADHD are susceptible to distractions when they particularly need to focus, such as during homework or chores. Put away cell phones, turn off the TV and eliminate repetitive background noises until the task is complete. Help your teen learn to eliminate these kinds of distractions themselves before they begin a task, so they can make it a part of their daily routine.

Arrange for Academic Accommodations – School is a particularly difficult setting for teens, however it is an important one for them to learn to navigate socially. Help your teen succeed by arranging testing accommodations, tutors and regular communication with his teachers. Assist your child in staying organized to help create structure and solidify expectations.

Relationships – Teens with ADHD often suffer from problems in their peer relationships, have fewer reciprocal friends and are a greater risk for bullying. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your teen in order to discuss relationships and the difficulties that might come up. Some teens with ADHD can benefit from therapy geared specifically to healthy social interaction. Encourage your teen to participate in social activities within a structured environment, such as sports or extracurricular activities.

Driving- Teens with ADHD are at high risk for traffic tickets and accidents due to their great sensitivity to distractions and inclination for impulsiveness. It is important that you use your judgment as a parent rather than the age requirement when deciding if your child is mature enough to drive alone. Help ensure his safety by monitoring his medication intake, setting rules about phone use while driving and restricting passengers, if necessary. Discuss with your teen the concerns you have associated with his disorder and his driving. Explain that freedom and driving privileges will increase as his skill matures.

At Risk Behavior – Statistically, teens with ADHD experiment with alcohol substance abuse and become sexually active earlier than those without the disorder. Parents can help their teens by being aware of their child's friends and social activities as well as minimizing unstructured, free time. Encourage extracurricular activities and maintain open communication about the dangers of substance abuse and sexual promiscuity. Consequences for rule breaking should be clear and consistent, so your teen knows what to expect.

Therapy and practical life skills can help your teen manage his symptoms and learn to live with ADHD. Liahona Academy is a full time residential facility specializing in helping teens with ADHD learn to live a healthy life. If your teen is struggling with ADHD, call us for a free consultation 1-800-675-8101.

Tyler Clark is the Online Outreach Coordinator for Liahona Academy. Liahona Academy is located in southern Utah and specializes in behavioral management for teen boys.
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