When diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), medication is often the first recommended treatment and the one with which most people are most familiar. The most common of these in South Africa are Ritalin and Concerta, which are stimulants. Stimulants are a group of drugs which stimulate the brain and nervous system and increase alertness as well as increase mood and reduce impulsive behaviour. They have been found to be effective in a high percentage of children and adults, however they can have undesirable side-effects such as appetite loss, headaches, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and nausea. Furthermore, they are only a temporary solution as they will not improve one’s attention nor decrease hyperactivity or impulsivity when one is not taking the stimulants. More recently some doctors have started prescribing a class of drugs called Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Strattera. These work by altering the way your brain absorbs norepinephrine and thus alters your mood which can lower hyperactivity, improve attention and reduce impulsivity. SNRIs have very similar side effects to stimulant drugs however SNRIs have been observed to increase anxiety and suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. Similar to stimulants, they also only provide a temporary solution to the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and will only be effective so long as the user is taking them. Another approach to ADHD medication is that of practical and natural remedies. These include supplements such as vitamins and omega oils, eating clean or altering one’s diet to avoid certain foods. Some of these natural solutions have been shown to make some difference although none as obvious as those observed with prescribed medication. Overall medicating in ADHD has been shown to lesson symptoms in some cases, but none have been shown to make as long term a difference as therapies which aim at improving one’s ability to manage the symptoms, and often they are undesirable due to the side-effects which many people suffer. Our recommendation is therapy before medication, however if your child is on medication we are happy to work with you to establish the effectiveness of the medication, as well as work towards a future where your child no longer needs it.
Choosing a school for a child who has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be a tough decision. There are many schools who offer support especially for ADHD, however these are not necessarily mainstream schools, and mainstream is always our first choice to guarantee our child is at the recommended age level of academics as well as offer the best possible social and emotional growth experiences. Most children with ADHD can function well in a mainstream school when their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is treated across settings and for this reason, it is best to find a school that is willing to support your child’s needs, possibly with smaller classes and an approach to teaching which does not only focus on sitting at a desk, but engages your child, while still getting your child the best support you can externally to help them fill their gaps as well as learn to manage their own ADHD. At Catch Up Kids our supervisors do their best to work with your child’s teachers to find out their concerns as well as ensure that your child’s programme is consistent with their school goals. This means that we have experience with a variety of syllabi and schools, and that you do not need to choose your school based on your child’s diagnosis but can rely on Catch Up Kids to help your child at any school.
The thing most parents want is help for their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) child, and with so many options and so many different views being given it can be very difficult to know what to do and what not. At Catch Up Kids we have experience with many kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and realise that every child needs support which is tailored to them and we also understand that you want an approach which is proven to help in other cases of ADHD. We use a behavioural approach to therapy, which targets multiple domains of learning and development, which addresses a variety of symptoms and concerns as well as equips you as a parent, as well as your child, to optimally manage their ADHD. We work with children of any age, although we suggest early intervention for best results. We will set up a program specifically to address your child’s needs based on our own observations as well as your input, reports and school feedback. We also believe in an approach which is enacted across settings, and so will make recommendations on changes you can make in your home setting to help your child as well as within the class setting which can assist them. Our programmes are set up to work on the symptoms of ADHD such as hyperactivity, impulsivity or inattentiveness, as well as focus on filling in any academic gaps which may exist and ultimately ensuring that your child is meeting their own performance capability. We also have experience with many of the conditions such as anxiety, behavioural problems and other learning difficulties which often occur along with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We will equip your child with strategies with which to manage these difficulties and adapt and change their Catch Up programme to find a learning method which suits them and teach them to use these methods and strategies in their everyday academic and social lives as well. Some of the specific domains we work on are some which people do not always realise may occur alongside ADHD but which are very important, as we do not want your child to miss anything due to their ADHD. These areas include Fine Motor Skills, different memory types such as auditory, visual and working memory, emotional coping, self-regulation as well as those most associated with ADHD such as inhibition and sustained attention. When your child comes to us, we will assess all of these skills as well as many more, including their academic skills and build a program which will help your child on the way to catching up, managing their symptoms and reaching their full potential.