Are you feeling overwhelmed by your child’s ADHD diagnosis?

In today’s media there are so many different treatments out there all claiming to help!  Effective treatment will depend on your unique child’s needs, however all children benefit from a multimodal well rounded approach.

Navigating ADHD’s favorite alternative treatments include parent education, coaching, counseling, exercise, and getting your child out in nature.

Medication can also be an effective facet of the multimodal treatment plan and the benefits and challenges should be discussed with your physician. The alternative treatments described below can be used in conjunction with medication or without.  The key is to find the best combination of support for your child.

Parenting Training

Research by Dr. Russell Barkley points to the importance of parenting education.

With Parent Training, caregivers experience a shift in thinking. Instead of believing they need to “fix” their child diagnosed with ADHD, they learn to manage the symptoms while drawing out the natural strengths.

Parents are educated on how the ADHD brain works, how to teach their children about organization and to develop problem-solving skills. Most importantly research is also showing that over long periods of time unwavering love and support for your child must be paramount.

Don’t give up!   Join a parent support group in your area or sign up for an online teleseminar. is a great resource for finding reputable professionals and groups.   Continue educating yourself, navigating ADHD is a journey.


The Edge Foundation research program discovered that when an individual with ADHD has the regular assistance and accountability of a coach, his/her executive function improves.

ADHD coaching helps children understand how their brain works and helps them create and implement strategies.  Strategies for setting goals, getting organized, time management, prioritizing, studying effectively and following through on tasks are all part of the coaching process.

The self awareness children gain from coaching contributes immensely to their future success.   A good starting place for finding a coach in your area  Always make sure the coach is a good fit for your child by meeting with the coach to learn about their coaching style and level of expertise.


Cognitive Behavior Therapy or skill based counseling can help an individual with ADHD learn to monitor his/her own behavior, regulate impulses and problem solve.    Art therapy or expressive therapy can also be extremely successful because many individuals with ADHD are wildly creative and have an affinity for artistic expression. Art, music, and dance therapy can be just the creative outlet needed to help your child excel and express him/herself.  Finding a creative way of expression can also be a great self-esteem booster.  When looking for a counselor for your child, it is important to find one that is knowledgeable about ADHD and is willing to communicate with all of the caregivers for your child.  Open communication is key to your child’s success because he/she will need cues and reminders to practice the skills gained in counseling.


Based on the research of Dr. John Ratey and several school initiatives, it is conclusive that physical exercise can improve attention, motivation and brain function.  Aerobic exercise revs up the attention system and causes chemicals to be released that improve attention and focus.  Simple exercise regimens can be added before the school day starts or even during the school day.  Add a bit of exercise before beginning homework or as a break when needed.  Jumping jacks, pushups, jumping rope and walking the dog all count!

Green Time or Time in Nature

Studies done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign show there is evidence of the reduction of ADHD symptoms when children have “green time” as part of their daily life.

When children have time outdoors they experience “involuntary attention” which requires no effort and gives the fatigued brain a chance to rest and recover.  Try adding time spent outdoors before school or before starting homework.  Whether you live in an urban area or a rural one, find time for child to get some outdoor time.


Tracey Bromley Goodwin, M.Ed., and Holly Oberacker, ATR, LMHC, have 20 years of combined experience working with children and families. Their site is Navigating ADHD helps children, parents, and professionals struggling with an ADHD diagnosis. Their first book, Navigating ADHD: Your Guide to the Flipside of ADHD will be published in late March 2011