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Dr. Barkley: Parenting ADHD Children

Dr. Russell Barkley, renowned ADHD expert, gave a presentation for parents hosted by CADDAC on October 16, 2011 to kick off ADHD Awareness Week. Not only did he give a presentation about “Understanding Emotion in the Management of ADHD,” but he also gave a bonus presentation on “The 20 Best Principles of Managing a Child with ADHD.”

Children with ADHD have poor emotional self-regulation. Emotional self-regulation is a four-step process whereby an individual:

  1. inhibits inappropriate behaviour related to strong emotion
  2. self-soothes arousal related to the emotion
  3. refocuses their attention away from the emotion-provoking event(s)
  4. re-organizes emotions in terms of long-term goals

Dr. Barkley spoke at length about the scientific evidence that suggests brain differences that are involved in emotional dysregulation and ADHD individuals. Furhtermore, he suggested that untreated ADHD (and emotional dysregulation) can lead to the development of ODD (oppositional defiance disorder).

Here are some strategies Dr. Barkley suggested for the improvement of emotional regulation:

  • Distraction – looking away from stimulus, focusing on some other interesting feature of the stimulus, visualizing a relaxing, calming situation (happy place), counting objects in a room to yourself
  • Self-Talk – talk to yourself using reasons to downplay the importance of the event. Is it really a big deal?
  • Suppression – try to actively suppress the strong emotion

You can find Dr. Barkley’s powerpoint slides for this presentation HERE.

Dr. Barkley’s second presentation included his top twenty tips for ADHD management in children. You can view that HERE.

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