A look at behaviors associated with ADHD

Published 10:38 am Monday, September 30, 2013

QUESTION: My child has so many behaviors that get interpreted in a negative way because of his ADHD, and yet he’s really a great kid.  It would help if people understood more about the challenges he’s experiencing.

RESPONSE:  According to Kirk Martin, psychologist and author of “Celebrate Calm,” kids with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may be the most misunderstood kids on the planet.  Here are five things these kids do that either irritate adults or result in correction:

They fidget.  It’s hard for adults to understand that for kids with ADHD chewing gum, bouncing their legs and twirling their pencils and hair helps them process information more effectively when they are doing things like homework.

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They doodle.  Doodling for kids with ADHD helps them pay attention, is relaxing and feeds the creative side of their brain.  Kids with ADHD often listen best when looking down, doodling on colored paper.

They do things the hard way.  Kids with ADHD find meaning in challenge, so smart parents of ADHD kids find ways to make chores, homework time and daily tasks more challenging.

They chew things.  A child with ADHD may chew on fingers, knuckles, erasers, ribbons, sleeves or shirt collars.  Chewing stimulates the brain, reduces anxiety and meets sensory needs. There is such a thing as jewelry you can chew available online, which can be a great relief for children with ADHD.

They hang upside down. They lay off the sofa upside down. That position forces blood into their brains, which helps them focus.  It meets a sensory need that they find calming.

The Parenting Resource Center has several Celebrate Calm CDs on a variety of topics which will encourage parents of children with ADHD, including practical strategies that will help parents give their children with ADHD tools that will decrease anxiety and increase confidence.

To talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child-raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 1-877-434-9528.  Visit the Parenting Resource Center Specialty Library at 1st  Street and 1st Avenue S.E., Austin.  Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org.