Why do children in France have a lower rate of being diagnosed and medicated compared to children in the United States? Is it the nutrition? Is it the structure? Do psychologists and physicians in France not understand the criteria for a diagnosis?
Father David Roseberry, Rector at Christ Church in Plano, recently posted an article on Facebook about research showing that the rate of ADHD is much lower for children in France. This fuels questions about misdiagnoses. Does ADHD really exist? Are these studies flawed? In the United States are we just overmedicating? Instead of just questioning the research, let's consider what we know we can do for all children whose lives can be improved by helping them focus and attend.
Research suggests that researchers in France and in the U.S. are both correct. There is sufficient evidence that brains fire more often in the frontal lobe of people with ADHD causing distractibility, inattentiveness, impulsivity, and further problems with executive functioning. Chaotic environments that lack structure, predictability, and order impair the ability to attend, manage distractions, and sequence. So what do we do? Where does this benefit families who struggle with their child's ability to attend, manage distractions and impulsivity?
Here are 5 things parents can do to improve their child's ability to manage attention (whether ADHD has been officially diagnosed or not):
1. Set your child up to be successful:
- Promote good sleep habits (Sleep Guidelines You Can Follow).
- Manage overstimulation (Why You Should Limit TV and Computer Screen Time).
- Minimize Distractions
- Teach ways to decrease agitation.
- Role model using words to identify feelings (Learn how to do this for young children)
- Teach the skills of Emotional Intelligence (Watch Video of John Gottman, Ph.D.)
- Minimize Punishment and Use Strategies for Discipline (Learn the Difference Between Discipline and Punishment)
- Catch your child doing things right instead of just pointing out what is wrong.
- Help your child become a good problem-solver to improve focus.
4. Build A Child's Internal Resources Rather than Being the One to Praise and Reward:
- Say, "Aren't You Proud of Yourself?" rather than just "I'm So Proud of You"
- Allow for controlled failure. Don't rob your child of his or her own wisdom.
- Teach life skills for social well being (Watch this Important Video of Russell Barkley, Ph.D.)
- Take frequent breaks when trying to sustain attention.
- Use a variety of ways to reinforce what a child is learning (flashcards, drawings, music, etc)
- Do the hard stuff first when attention is more likely to be sustained.
Thanks for posting the article Father David. I'm glad you asked for my opinion. I've always got one.
To read the original article posted by Father David go to this link Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD