For those with ADHD the transition from the structured routine of school to more unstructured summer activities can be a challenge. It is important to plan ahead for the summer and maintain structure in the day.
Martin Vanderwoude: Meet Holly, an active 11 year old, looking forward to the long warm days ahead. She can't wait to take a break from her school books and enjoy Summer activities. For Holly's mom, Kim Priestman, summer used to bring challenges. Holly has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known as ADHD and Kim is already preparing for her daughter's transition from the structured routine of school to Summer activities like pool parties and sports. Kim Priestman: We did have a trouble a couple of summers because with Holly having ADHD, she doesn't have the patience to stand in line for things. So there were certain activities we didn't want to do. Before we had the structure in place, we couldn't make long range plans. We couldn't go to a movie, we couldn't go to a play. It was frustrating. Martin Vanderwoude: Those who work with children have developed strategies to help families manage their transition from school to summer. As this can be a challenge for all parents, not only those who have children with ADHD. Dr. Kenneth Handelman is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Dr. Kenneth Handelman: It's really important to plan ahead for the summer. It's great if can get your son or daughter involved in creating the structure, help them give their input and then if you can create a schedule or a routine, that's more of the summer routine, posted on the wall that will help your child to adhere to it. Many children with ADHD struggle with social interactions and friendships. I like to encourage parents to promote that during the summer time, that can be through structured activities like day camps or team sports or through unstructured activities, like get together with cousins and friends. ADHD is a challenging year round condition, not a seasonal problem that occurs only during the school year. Some doctors suggest that you avoid taking a drug holiday during the summers. Parents should speak to their doctors about their options. Martin Vanderwoude: For Holly and her mom, getting an early start on summer, has made a huge difference. Kim Priestman: Now that we've got things under control with Holly's ADHD, this year we are planning a trip out East and a couple of years ago, that's not something I would have done. Martin Vanderwoude: Family should know there are a variety of strategies to help them with this transition. The first suggestion, talk to your doctor. The second suggestion, the website ADHD.ca. Dr. Kenneth Handelman: The summer is a great opportunity for parents to bond with their child who has ADHD. Parents should make the time to have a lot of fun during the summer. Martin Vanderwoude: As our understanding of ADHD grows, so does our range of options for dealing with the condition and that's paying off for Holly, who is looking to a very happy summer, Martin Vanderwoude reporting.