Tips for parents

Dr Wong Hui Yi, senior clinical psychologist, department of child and adolescent psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, shares these tips:

• Provide structure at home: Draw up a timetable with sufficient and reasonable periods for study, rest and play.

ADHD children have a short attention span and are easily distracted. Instead of allocating one hour of homework time, break it up into shorter and more manageable periods of 15 minutes each, with a break of, say, five minutes between each period.

You can also use a timer and show the child how much time he has for each period.

Keep it simple: Break down complicated, multi-step instructions or tasks into smaller, more specific and simpler steps.

Children with ADHD struggle when they get too much information, especially when it is given verbally.

Call him by his name and make sure he is looking at you, then tell him what you want him to do. Check to see if he understands what you have told him. You can ask him to repeat what you have just said.

• Employ visual learning: Kids with ADHD tend to respond to more visual and experiential ways of learning.

Use diagrams, models and examples in real-life settings. For instance, for a math problem, draw a diagram to show him how it is done.

• Develop self-esteem: Tune in to your child's interests and strengths. If he is interested in science, for instance, take him to the science centre or to the park.

Assign him small tasks at home and praise him for the effort put in. For example, if he helps out with the laundry, praise him for doing it.

Joyce Teo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2016, with the headline 'Tips for parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe