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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
General Guidelines for Managing ADHD
Modify the environment in an effort to reduce distractions:
- Sitting on a Disc 'O' Sit cushion may help improve your child's attention in class. The Disc 'O' Sit is a dome-shaped cushion filled with air that requires the child to maintain proper balance.
- Decrease noise and clutter.
- Provide clear instructions, preferably written.
- Focus on success. Reward your child’s progress and reinforce positive behavior.
- Help your child get organized with checklists and reminders.
- Encourage impulse control.
- Encourage your child to do things he or she is good at.
- Do not require your child to perform difficult tasks in public.
- Encourage active learning, such as underlining, note taking, or reading aloud.
- Break big jobs down into small tasks.
- All guidelines for school and the workplace apply to the home environment, as well.
- Address family tensions such as spousal conflicts, alcoholism, addiction, and sibling rivalry.
- Create order, structure, and routine in the home. There is comfort in knowing what is going to happen and that things are where they belong.
- Provide nourishing meals.
- If you smoke, quit.
- A family doctor should monitor your child’s treatment to detect and treat any problems.
- A school or employment counselor may be helpful in making alternate educational or work arrangements.
- Mental health professionals can teach coping skills to help reduce stress and deal with emotional and social problems.
- Specially trained ADHD coaches are available to help provide structure, tools, and strategies. Coaches may specialize in working with children, adolescents, or adults.
When to Contact Your Doctor
ADHD. The Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/learning/adhd.html. Accessed August 14, 2012.
ADHD basics. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/adhd/Pages/ADHD-Basics.aspx. Accessed August 14, 2012.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 11, 2012. Accessed August 14, 2012.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 25, 2012. Accessed August 14, 2012.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/what-is-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder.shtml. Accessed August 14, 2012.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Management. American Family Physician. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd.html. Accessed August 14, 2012.
Rapport M, Bolden J, et al. Hyperactivity in boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a ubiquitous core symptom or manifestation of working memory deficits? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 2009;37:521-534.
Stern T, Rosenbaum J, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.
4/30/2008 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php: Pfeiffer B, Henry A, et al. Effectiveness of Disc 'O' Sit cushions on attention to task in second-grade students with attention difficulties. Am J Occup Ther. 2008;62:274-281.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013