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Why managing something once doesn't mean you can always manage it.

A mistake I see time and time again when supporting children with ADHD, is the assumption that because they have managed a task without being impulsive once, they can manage it again.


Take Kiddo as an example. He cannot travel in a car or bus unless he has an adult next to him or he is wearing a rear fastening harness. This is because he launches himself into the front of the car suddenly and tries to "help" with the driving.


When I first told people he needed an adult in the back with him, people thought I was over reacting. This is because he had managed a journey without a harness or an adult, without launching into the front of the car. I was told he was fine, and didn't need these supports in place. Until one day of course, he did it again.


With ADHD, the best way to support a child with impulsivity is to remove the temptation. It's the best way to help adults most of the time too. If the temptation is removed, it is much easier to regulate and make good decisions. When the temptation is there, your brain becomes overpowered, you don't feel in control of it (even if you're on medication) and you can feel that to act on the impulse is the best way to clear your head and regulate. Of course, your brain doesn't factor in the consequences of your decision. Half the time, its not even a decision because your brain has acted before your thoughts can catch up.


Saying an ADHD child should be able to cope because they know how to behave in certain situations doesn't mean that they CAN behave in those certain situations. By leaving the temptation in full view, whether it be to undo a seat belt, go shopping, steal something etc., you are leaving them at the mercy of ADHD dysregulation which can be almost impossible to break out of as a child. You need many years of practice and support to learn how to do this.


It's not a case of "they did it before, so they know better". It's a case of getting lucky once. Remove the supports they need and leave temptation in front of them and you're simply setting them up to fail.



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