Parents Play Integral Role in ADHD

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If you have a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), medication may not be your only option.

William Rae is using his knowledge of ADHD to educate others.
Helping parents, and others affected by the disorder to understand what they are up against.

"There is some really new concepts on how attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is defined," William Rae, Clinical Professor, Texas A&M Director, Counseling & Assessment Clinic. "The main one being it's not seen as being as much a problem with attention span as much as it is with inhibiting behaviors."

Rae says medication is often seen as a solution since it tends to be a very easy response to a set of symptoms.

"It is the case that about 80 percent of the population of people that might take Ritalin would concentrate better even if they didn't have ADHD," Rae said.

Understanding the history and possible causes of the disorder is important to treatment.

The current thinking is that ADHD is a complex interaction of many things including genetic, environmental, and cognitive factors.

"Parents don't cause ADHD but they can really help deal with some of the negative symptoms, and using good parenting techniques can really help them to deal with some of their symptoms," Rae said.

Rae encourages parents to develop a consistent rewards and punishment system to help children behave more appropriately.
He says that combined with supporting them emotionally can make a big difference.

"Research clearly shows if you can improve their motivation that kids can overcome some of these predispositions to not pay attention," Rae said.