1. Subscribe to CHADD. http://www.chadd.org/. CHADD stands for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. They are the largest organization of their kind, and they have a phenomenal amount of information on their site including articles, webinars, research studies, and information about local groups. Your $53 membership also includes "Attention" magazine and access to all the previous issues online. It's a great way to educate yourself and your family.
2. Watch these two videos: "ADD and Loving It" and "ADD and Mastering It." Available at TotallyADD.com. I think these videos are the best at providing a thorough and funny view of ADHD. They are good for ages 10 and up. Our understanding of ADHD in our house took a major turn after my husband and I watched them.
3. If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, consider whether or not you might have ADHD and whether or not you need treatment and/or coaching. This is very important for two reasons. First, the ADHD symptoms in your children are affected, both positively and negatively, by your parenting behavior. If your home is in chaos, you cannot expect your ADHD child to be organized and on top of things at school. It's really not very fair, and it just plain old isn't going to happen. More importantly, your attempts to overcome your own struggles with an ADHD brain are going to be a powerful example to your child. If your child has ADHD, there's almost an even chance that one of their biological parents does too. So take a look in the mirror. Go see your Doctor or a Psychologist and have a screening done.
4. Consider getting a smartphone or an iTouch for everyone in your house who is in 6th grade or higher, and learn how to use it one app at a time. The apps and features on these things can be harnessed to make up for what the ADHD brain lacks - multiple times over. Alarms, digital calendars, task lists, homework apps, grocery store lists and apps, mindfulness training, exercise routines - the list is endless. Please DON'T start with Facebook or Angry Birds because you probably won't move on to the more important tasks. There are several good articles out right now about using smartphones with ADHD. http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/5329.html, http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/top-adhd-android-iphone-apps and http://www.danarayburn.com/managing-add-adhd/using-the-iphone-to-manage-adult-add-adhd%E2%80%A8/ for a few examples.
5. Read ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kohlberg. Before you run out and buy 18 plastic bins next week to "finally organize that junk room!" or clean out the car "so it STAYS that way!", buy this book and read it. An easy read with lots and lots of practical suggestions for many different types of things. It also does a great job explaining why certain types of organizational solutions = epic fail for ADHDers. The other ADHD members of your family will thank you for not trying to impose a system that will spell a lack of success for them.
Hopefully you will find these items relatively quick and somewhat painless. You don't have to do all of them and you don't have to do them in any particular order. As my friend the FlyLady says, "Just jump in where you are!"
Happy New Year!