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ADHD Success for the Second Semester
Second semester has begun
It is a new year and can be a time of new beginnings for kids in school. Students can enter their second semester with a new outlook and with new goals.
For some children with ADHD, school can be even more of a challenge. There are medications for ADHD to help with focus; however medication alone is not the answer.
"A child or teen has to maintain good health and have a good concept of wellness to best achieve their goals."
Dr. Elizabeth Walenz
Methodist Physicians Clinic Pediatrician
Health and wellness for students with ADHD
Regular physical activity can help to better attain focus. Involvement in a team sport or regular exercise routine outside of the normal gym and recess time can be helpful and improve that focus. Studies have shown an inverse relationship between symptoms of ADHD and exercise. Kids who don’t get regular exercise may have more impulsive and hyperactive behaviors.
Many studies looked at the impact of sugars and fats on students’ abilities to pay attention and focus. There have been studies looking at dyes in foods and gluten free diets as a source to improve focus in our kids. The studies have concluded that following a healthy, low-fat diet can make a child feel better overall, as well as decrease the incidence of behavioral problems. Again, the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Sending a child to school on an empty stomach is not going to help with their school performance. Kids need brain food and energy to pay attention and participate in the school day.
Studies have also looked at omega 3 fatty acids as a source to help to improve attention. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish or dietary supplements. Recent studies have shown that omega 3 supplementation can improve ADHD symptoms.
School break may have been a time to lapse on our normal sleep routine. If a child is sleepy or overtired, they will not perform well in school and may have a difficult time focusing. Make sure your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep and is not falling asleep to a television, computer or tablet.
New recommendations will be coming out this spring on screen time for kids. Research has shown that excessive screen time can lead to worsening attention problems. Video gaming can be a source of screen time that may need to be limited. Children with attention deficit disorder may perform very well with video gaming and they enjoy video games as it is something they “are good at.” Provide other activities for your child at home and limit screen time to no more than two hours per day.
There has been some new research which shows a link between brain maturation and musical training. Learning an instrument may be beneficial for the growing brain, especially in the areas of the brain associated with ADHD.
Certain skills associated with ADHD, disorganization, forgetfulness and distractibility can be taught methods of mindfulness by counselors to help to overcome these obstacles.
No single solution
A pill alone is not going to solve the problems encountered in school with ADHD. Make sure to take care of your child’s overall health. Work with the school and counselors to help your child to be his best person and succeed.
If you have more questions and need advice on how to help your child in school, talk with your Methodist Physicians Clinic pediatrician.