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Q: What kind of changes can we make in our home to help our daughter who was recently diagnosed with ADHD?
A: To accommodate your daughter with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, you will need to provide as much structure and predictability in the home as possible. Establish rules, routines and schedules to help the home run smoothly. Plan with your daughter a routine or schedule for getting ready for school in the morning, doing homework, mealtimes and bedtime. Establish regulations regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in the home and the positive and negative consequences associated with both.
Help your daughter organize her bedroom for locating, using and cleaning up her belongings. This also helps create a sense of order. Provide her a designated space for doing homework and studying. Have easy access at her homework area for supplies and materials. Provide uncluttered desktop space and storage space for her with labeled storage bins, containers, shelving, drawers or trays. Make sure her work area is well lit and has good ventilation. Use colors to organize.
Post calendars in the home and use master schedules with each family member’s name in different colors. Minimize distractions.
Remove the television if she has one in her bedroom. Turn the television off in the home during homework time.
Experiment with a variety of different music in the house. Different types of music can increase productivity. Some types of music are calming and relaxing. Research proves the effectiveness of music that has 60 beats per minute in regard to helping students focus.
Although you are creating an atmosphere allowing your daughter to have quiet time and a quiet space, you must also make sure she has the time and space to release energy.
(Mary Beth Hall is a guidance counselor at Grant County High School. To get a question answered, e-mail her at email@example.com.)