Treating ADHD: March 7, 2014

Fitness coach, life coach, father of one Ralph Quillen is familiar with ADHD.

“I think most parents are aware of the problem. I’ve coached for twelve years and I’ve seen a progression in it over the years,” says Quillen.

There is confusion and misconceptions about what it is and how you treat it.

“The reality is, the research shows it’s not so much the motoric behavior but rather the attention deficits that are the hallmark of this disorder,” says Dr. Elena Reyes, clinical psychologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Meaning kids aren’t able to plan and execute everyday tasks. It’s now estimated 1 in 10 children in the US - 1 in 5 teenage boys - are diagnosed with ADHD and 3.5 million youngsters are taking an ADHD drug. Something doctors say can be a game-changer.

“Medication is often needed to allow for the child to be able to focus. We’ve got good research that shows children who are appropriately diagnosed and appropriately treated with medication can do very well,” says Dr. Reyes.

Medication may be the most talked about ADHD treatment, but not the only one. Behavior management, actually working on impulse control can be successful, provided parents buy in.

“We train the student about how to organize themselves, how to stop how to think, how to be able to manage their work and their behavior. That usually is associated with parent management also. If a child can’t structure themselves how can you as a parent structure them so they can be successful,” says Dr. Reyes.

Ralph sees the structure, required in sports, makes an impact.

“I see more kids that are medicated through high school these days then when I first started coaching.  As an athlete, sports is more of an outlet - so it actually helps them,” says Quillen.

The end game is the same:  helping kids find their focus