A recent Associated Press article titled “Behavior Medication is Drug of Choice for Children” reported that parent-spending on medications for attention deficit disorder and other behavior problems has, for the first time, edged out the cost of antibiotics and asthma medications for children.
Antibiotics still top the list of medications most commonly used for children; however, the study, conducted by Medco, the nation’s largest prescription benefit manager, reported some startling results. Data collected over the past three years has indicated a 49 percent rise in the use of attention disorder drugs for children under five years and a 23 percent increase in usage for all children. During the same time period families spent an increase of 369 percent in attention deficit drugs for children under the age of five.
With this kind of financial output parents want and hope to see results. The Informed Parent archives house several articles by Dr. John Samson and one by Dr. Peter Welty on the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment for attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity.
Professionals agree that the use of medication for attention deficit disorder solves only part of the problem. When properly prescribed and used, it optimizes the child’s ability to focus and to process information. It does not change learned behaviors that interfere with a child’s social or academic success. This requires learning a new, more appropriate set of skills.
The following in-home interventions assist parents in providing the physical, social, and emotional environment necessary to optimize success for their child with attention deficit disorder.
Some of these suggestions are self-explanatory. Others may leave you wondering about how to best implement them. Refer to the “Parenting Issues” and “Parenting” sections in The Informed Parent archives. You will find articles that address structuring the home, avoiding homework hassles, effective communication, and using effective behavior management strategies.
Parenting a child with an attention deficit disorder is challenging. Frustration, anger, sadness, and fear are emotions that crop up more than you might wish. Share your concerns with the pediatrician. Learn and keep informed of the best parenting practices. Stay in contact with the school. Above all, accept your child. His life is not easy for him. Know that he wants to be successful. He will find negative success by being a poor student or being socially inadequate if not provided the opportunity to learn effective behaviors. You, other family members, his classroom teacher, the pediatrician, and other professionals working with him are the guides who assist him in becoming a positively successful human being.