"Having a baby and a child with ADHD is like an atomic bomb of destruction."

Having a child with ADHD can be a challenge. It’s a situation Sydney mum of three Noa Erez-Rein knows well. Her son Shir, now 17, was diagnosed with ADHD at age six, while his twin sister and younger brother did not have the condition.

She said having two children who would play quietly and another one who was “like an atomic bomb of destruction” was tough – but she quickly learned how to create a positive environment that suited the needs of all her children.

Shir with his siblings as kids. Image supplied.

“He would break absolutely everything he could get his hands on because he was so incredibly curious. The whole family adjusted to a child that did not stop moving,” she said.

Ms Erez-Rein said that the family adapted techniques to suit Shir’s specific needs, such as going to the beach or park after school instead of doing quiet activities like going to a café. She also developed sleep structures and routines for him, and always stuck to a schedule and plan when going out.

Ms Erez-Rein also dedicated a whole day each term to each child to make sure they each got special quality time with her. But while she admits those early years were “tumultuous”, Shir is now doing well and is currently sitting his HSC.

Shir and his siblings today. Image supplied.

“I used to be envious of the other mums who could go to restaurants and do things we couldn’t, but now we can. It’s just hard as a young mum to hold on to that vision of the future. My job was to be his advocate and I had a vision for him, that he would be okay. I’m really proud of him,” she said.

But while Ms Erez-Rein said her family learned to adjust to Shir’s specific needs early on, new research has shown that ADHD may affect the quality time parents and families share, and the quality of time children with ADHD have for personal growth and achievement.

Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Image via iStock.

The survey, which was conducted by Lonergan Research on behalf of Shire Australia, revealed that nearly seven in 10 parents agree that their child’s ADHD behaviours negatively impact the relationship they have with their partner. 33 per cent believe it affects their social life the most and 30 per cent say it affects family holidays, while 77 per cent claim their child with ADHD finds it more difficult than others of the same age to perform well at school.

But Clinical Associate Professor Michael Kohn, from the University of Sydney, said there were a range of treatment options available, including behavioural and pharmacotherapy.

He said ADHD was one of the most common neurobehavioural disorders in children, and that it led to symptoms such as inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

If you have a child with ADHD, what techniques do you use?

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