Treating Students with ADHD without Medications
March 9th, 2016 by JCOS Admin
Prior to the 1990s, when there was an explosive growth in prescription medications to treat ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder), teachers and parents were already using effective treatments in classroom settings to help students with learning disorders and ADHD. In the 1990s, as changes in educational models, teacher-student rights, and other such updates to the American educational system took effect, teachers had less time to spend one-on-one with ADHD students.
As a result, parents were left looking for a medical diagnosis about why their children had problems in school. This resulted in physicians prescribing a variety of medications to help students behave better in school and remain involved with the rest of their class. However, treating students affected with ADHD with medications is not always the “cure-all” for each and every child, and there are potential side effects to prescription medications. Rather, there are effective methods and other options for parents with a child who has ADHD or another learning disability.
In addition, in some areas, schools for children with ADHD and learning disorders have increased, allowing parents to forgo medications, in many cases, and return to using previously established techniques and treatments in classroom settings.
While non-medication methods are sometimes viewed as controversial, they can be rather effective in environments where teachers and parents are able to work together and identify effective ways to stimulate, motivate, and regulate children’s behaviors in the classroom.
For instance, in one case, a teacher noticed one of her students was not participating or attempting to answer questions during lessons. Instead, the student was acting out and disturbing other students. Rather than encouraging the parents to medicate the child, she took the time to change how she taught that particular student by discovering what could motivate the child to participate in lessons.
What this teacher discovered was that, by writing the answers to the questions in invisible marker and allowing the student to reveal the answers after answering the question on their own, the student became more excited about learning and participating in the classroom. In fact, the student was taking the time to complete assignments and answer every question. Further, the student was achieving an average of 84% on assignments and tests, all from this teacher changing how she instructed the child.
Another effective way to treat students with ADHD is to ensure they are eating a healthy diet without preservatives, food coloring, or other additives. Many of the artificial ingredients used in food today can amplify underlying symptoms common with ADHD and other learning disorders. In addition, daily, short periods of physical fitness and exercise can help reduce distractions and help children remain more focused.
If you are looking for alternative methods to treat your child’s ADHD or learning disorder without using prescription medications, you are not alone. Please feel free to contact John Cardinal O’Connor School in Irvington for more information about our elementary school programs for children with ADHD and learning disorders by phoning 914-591-9330 today.