Advice about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Parent Q&A

Resources for 2nd grader diagnosed with ADHD Aug 3, 2018 (3 responses below)
ADHD Son - Physical activity recommendations? Aug 25, 2016 (3 responses below)
Sylvan Learning for ADHD ? Aug 22, 2016 (2 responses below)
  • My 7 year old daughter was diagnosed by Kaiser Permanente with ADHD last week. We’re reluctant to jump into drugs and are looking for a family counseling plus parent training approach to start. If you know of any local resources beyond CHADD, please let us know. My daughter will be starting 2nd grade at Jefferson in the fall. We can already see social and learning problems, but her self esteem is still high. We want to keep it there while we explore treatment options. Thanks!

    Friendship club with Kaiser has been pretty good!

    UC-Berkeley psychology department had a parent group that we participated in last year after our 4th grader was diagnosed. Research is that combined behavioral and medical has the best results. My husband was highly resistant to medication, but it has made a big difference. We only use it on school days.

    I can wholeheartedly recommend Rebecca Freeling  from wits end  parenting.  We have an extremely spirited child about the same age, also in Berkeley schools, and we weren’t sure what to do or where to turn. We found Rebecca on  we have an extremely spirited child about the same age, also in Berkeley schools, and we weren’t sure what to do or where to turn. We found Rebecca on BPN  and were impressed with the favorable reviews. She acts more like a family coach and her approach is unique for each family. As parents , We learned more effective techniques for how to handle difficult situations and our daughter showed dramatic  improvements over the course of several months.  The whole family will go for appointments to Rebecca and we just told her kids that she is teaching us to treat each other better, which they love! 

  • Hi - I need a recommendation for a physical activity for my 9yo.  I was consider a martial art (which to choose?) or fencing.  I am located in Oakland and would appreciate any recommendations.

    Trampoline or swimming.

    For my son, activities with lots of running around worked well--like soccer.  Basketball, tennis and baseball were are activities he enjoyed.  It was harder for him to do activities that required a lot of stillness and discipline.  After all the sitting in school, he needed to run and get tired.  Also, look for a coach instructor that understands active kids.  Otherwise, it can be a nightmare.

    I second the swimming rec. Kids with ADHD need intense whole body movement every day.

  • Sylvan Learning for ADHD ?

    (2 replies)

    Seeking any recent recommendations/reviews for Sylvan Learning - any east bay office. Did you find their tutoring method to be helpful for your child? My ADHD child has been in private tutoring for several years with the same person, and while it helped him keep up with his schoolwork, he is still testing at two grades lower in math and reading. I was thinking (hoping) that working within a small group might be a nice change and good motivator for him. Thank you for your help!

    RE: Sylvan Learning for ADHD ? ()

    Unless your child has a learning disability, other than ADHD, that the tutor is not qualified to handle, he should not be behind in any subject that he has been tutored for years.
    As a parent and a tutor who has worked with kids one on one and in small groups, I can tell you from experience that you definitely have to change the tutor. However, for someone that behind small groups are not going to be as effective as one on one tutoring.
    You need to find someone who will not focus on homework, but on improving certain skills. And you may have to find two different tutors: one for reading and one for math.
    I have worked with a range of students from extremely slow to learn to super fast, and all of them have improved , on an average, 1-2 grade levels in reading in less than two months.
    With math you have to make a commitment. While the reading can significantly improve without any homework (I don't give any), that is not the case with math. Students need a lot of practice before they can internalize the new concepts.
    I hope this helps.

    RE: Sylvan Learning for ADHD ? ()

    I haven't used Sylvan but I have an ADD kid who has needed a lot of help over the years. In my experience, the homework problem is very different from the testing problem.  I believe the test results that your son is getting might be more about what's going on in the classroom and how the testing is being done, not whether he is getting all his homework done. You didn't say how old your son is, or what his ADHD is like, or whether he is on meds, or has a 504 or IEP.  My son is in high school, and he has severe focus issues and takes meds for that, but he is not hyperactive. Before he was diagnosed with ADD, he learned NOTHING in the classroom because he did not have the focus to follow what his teachers were saying, or even notice when they were talking. One of his teachers suggested he might have hearing issues! Nope, just ADD as it turned out.  Before the meds, he did not learn much, he was a late reader, and could never remember anything that happened during the day. After he started meds, it was a completely different story.  He could focus on the teacher and he started learning and reading. In middle school he had a 504 Plan that allowed him to have longer to finish tests (he needs at least 2 hours to complete a 1 hour test). We also spoke with all his teachers about how he learns, and we cut way back on the homework, with the teachers' cooperation. Because his meds wear off around 4pm, his "learning day" is done basically when school lets out, and it is impossible for him to maintain enough focus to do anything that requires any thought.  However, he is up to speed academically.  Last year he did virtually no homework but still finished up the year with As and Bs and a couple of Cs. He does well on tests, especially on math and science, because 1) he's able to absorb so much information during class, and retain it, and 2) he gets longer to finish tests.  He did have a weekly tutor last year to help with long-term assignments - he needs a lot of urging - and for help with crafting longer writing assignments.  But he's smart, so he doesn't need someone to teach him how do math or read. He mainly needs the meds and the accommodations provided by the 504 Plan.  So this might be something for you to think about. 

    One other thing - working in small groups has never been a good way for my son to learn, because collaboration with other kids is distracting for him. He works better on his own, where it's only the work that requires his attention. Also, it takes him twice as long to finish a math problem or write a sentence as most kids, so he really hates working in a group because he is always the last to finish, and unfortunately there has sometimes been teasing and complaining from his group mates.  So it is possible that small group tutoring might not work for your son, depending on the situation.  However, I would definitely consider de-emphasizing homework and putting your attention on what's happening in the classroom and how the testing is being done. Good luck!  It is hard on the parents!