Dr. Gary’s Top Ten nondrug ADHD Recommendations

Dr. Gary’s Top Ten nondrug ADHD Recommendations

Dr. Gary’s Top Ten nondrug ADHD Recommendations

  1. Because of the youngster’s school misbehavior, use an in-school ticket system. Such a ticket system would allow the teacher to rate the youngster’s behavior four times a day. Only two behaviors a day should be rated. For example, focusing and completing work. The tickets should return home then with a maximum of eight smiley faces. Should the youngster succeed in six or more, he/she will receive his/her usual afternoon privileges. Four or below might be met with some consequences such as time out or work detail.

Give child a happy face or sad face for each square therefore rating him 4 times a day. Child would receive reward for 6 or more happy faces. 5 is a wash. Parents have the option of privilege loss at less than 5 happy faces.

Morning Work Play Time Lunch Time Afternoon Work
Hands On Others
Paying Attention
  1. The best nondrug method for helping ADHD is physical movement. Multiple studies have shown that movement reboots focus. I recommend bouncy bands (check their website) or wiggle cushions. Many kinds of chairs incorporating movement are helping children at home and in school.. Rocker chairs, spinner chairs and adjustable height works stations have all been helpful.

At homework time, make sure a child has 3 coins. They can exchange those coins for a 7 minute exercise break (treadmill, bed bouncing, running the stairs or jumping jacks). When they feel stressed or hyper they can turn in a coin and receive their break. When the 3 are gone their exercise time is done for the night.

  1. Drill in the meaning of focus. Focus equals one being seated, back against chair, eyes on paper and listening. The child should learn to do a body inventory when they are asked to focus. Focus should become a household word e.g. comments can be made about whether other family members are focusing. HELP THE CHILD READ THEIR OWN BODY AND LOOK FOR GOOD FOCUS BEHAVIOR. Hint: the eyes tell all.
  1. Homework should be completed in the same place and at the same time daily. Prior to starting homework, parent and child should have a meeting to decide on subgoals. For instance, after each section is completed child should take a short break before returning to schoolwork. Parents should wean themselves away from their child by only checking them at regular intervals. Should they be struggling, the parents should not answer or complete their work, but merely give them hints so that they are empowered to complete it themselves.
  1. Children who co-sleep may have difficulty with self-soothing which will negatively affect focus. To remove a child from parent’s bed you would use a graduated mechanism.  I recommend first having the child sleep on the side of the parents’ bed for a week in a sleeping bag or similar bedding.  The sleeping bag could then be moved further from the parent on the second week.  At a time that is announced to the child, and is preceded by warning on the calendar, the child then goes to bed in their room.  Parent then lays with them until partly sleepy.  Upon leaving the room they play a tape recording of PARENT’S OWN VOICE READING THE CHILD’S FAVORITE STORIES, EVEN IF THEY ARE OLDER.  The tape should last for 30 min and then shut itself off. In future weeks, parent’s laying time is reduced.

Should the child get out of bed in the middle of the night, they are promptly returned to their bed and the tape is played again.  This way they have the comfort of your voice without your physical presence.

  1. Techniques include limiting the amount of sincere talks and converting to a system of more natural consequences. Hence, their misbehavior could be reinforced in their parent’s negatives. For instance a natural consequence for failing to put away dishes, is to spend an extra ten minutes washing the entire family’s dishes.
  1. Break assignments into 10-minute segments. Gradually increase the length and difficulty of the assignments as the student demonstrates success. Never answer a homework question, only give hints that gradually get closer to the answer. Help the child think!
  1. Permit the student who is easily distracted by noises to use a headset with white noise or music of the student’s choice. (Some students prefer headsets without any noise). If the student elects to use music and works appropriately, the music can be used. If the student abuses the privilege, the privilege is lost.
  1. Common sense ADHD interventions:
    a) Discussing with the child what attention is and what it is not.
    b) Helping the child understand what attention and non-attention is in others.
    c) Demonstrate selective attention by having the child try to focus with competing stimuli e.g. radio, ringing phone, etc.
    d) Role plays using good focusing behavior
    e) Play games to see how long attention can be maintained in various situations.


  1. In class, allow the child to move about the classroom. This decreases the ADHD student’s restlessness and overactivity. Create errands for the child. Heavy work is known to be helpful such as running reams of paper to the principal’s office on the other side of the school. If that does not work, just have them carry a note to the other side.

Allow stretches in seat of slow pacing in the back of the room.

Allow doodling at their seat, the use of fidgets.

Small group discussions, with one designated leader (spokesperson) helps everybody’s attention span by breaking up the day. Make sure to have them meet in corners of the room way from their chairs.