Getting back into the school routine can be exciting and invigorating for some children, but it can also be intimidating and challenging for others. This is especially the case for those who may have difficulty paying attention in the classroom due to attention deficit disorders.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6.4 million children aged 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the percentage of diagnoses continues to increase. ADHD is a disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that occurs in academic, occupational, or social settings.
“ADHD is one of the most common mental health issues affecting children,” says Francis P. Halas, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician at Hackensack Meridian Health K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune. As a pediatric specialist who has a special interest in ADHD, Dr. Halas notes that this diagnosis can impair a child’s learning if the disorder isn’t detected and managed in a healthy manner.
“Parents sometimes have a hard time recognizing whether their child is being active and fidgety in the classroom by nature, or if ADHD might be the source of the behavior,” says Dr. Halas. “It’s a matter of the degree to which the behavior interferes with day-to-day life functions. An example is completing necessary tasks such as school work and homework. If a parent thinks that his or her child might have ADHD, I strongly encourage the family to talk to their child’s pediatrician.”
If a child is diagnosed with ADHD, he or she will need support to adjust to the school environment and remain focused. With more than 40 years of pediatric experience, Dr. Halas provides the following tips:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare! A child’s chances of success in the classroom will greatly improve if a teacher has the necessary information ahead of time.
- Work together with your child’s pediatrician and teacher to assess his or her strengths and potential problems.
- Establish a healthy relationship with your child’s teacher to encourage an open dialogue. Feel comfortable enough to talk about his or her day-to-day behavior, or share any updates on, for example, new medications or treatments.
- Create a system for the completion of homework assignments.
- Have a consistent daily routine, including some exercise.
- Set a bed time routine and encourage the shutting-down of electronics an hour before shuteye.
“The sooner a child with ADHD has access to some of the available accommodations and treatment options, the faster we can improve his or her life, especially in school,” says Dr. Halas.
For more information about Dr. Halas and the pediatric specialists affiliated with Hackensack Meridian Health K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, please visit www.JerseyShoreUniversityMedicalCenter or call the free physician referral line at 1-800-560-9990.
ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH
Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.
The Network’s notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Health Care” in the nation, and the number one “Best Place to Work for Women.” Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.
The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.
For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.