My Child Was Just Diagnosed With ADHD. Now What?

By Lexi Walters Wright

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If your child has just been diagnosed with ADHD, you might be wondering what this means for her and for your family. Following these steps can help you better understand your child and help her get the support she needs at home and at school.


Learn all you can about ADHD.

The more you know, the more you can help. Hear an expert explain the basics of ADHD, including how it can affect daily life. Get answers to common questions parents have about ADHD. Also, get an idea of what your child is experiencing. Understanding can help you be as supportive as possible.


Investigate treatments and therapies.

Talk to your child’s doctor about treatment options. These may include ADHD medications, behavior therapy or social skills groups. Ask any questions you may have about other treatment or therapy options.


Research ADHD medications if you’re considering them.

Learn about the different types of medications and common side effects. And find out when you might need to have your child’s medication fine-tuned.


Discuss supports and accommodations with her school.

Schedule a meeting with the school and provide a copy of the report from the specialist or pediatrician. Even if the school has done its own evaluation, having an outside diagnosis and recommendations can help with the IEP or 504 plan process. Discuss which informal supports or classroom accommodations might be appropriate.


Talk with your child about her ADHD diagnosis.

Help her understand how it might affect her in certain areas, including in social situations. But also let her know that ADHD doesn’t define who she is and that many successful people have ADHD.


Teach your child to self-advocate.

Talk through some of the ways your child can ask for help when her ADHD makes it clear she needs it. Self-advocacy is a skill that can offer benefits throughout her lifetime.


Understand the common behavioral and emotional issues.

Many kids with ADHD feel things intensely and have trouble managing their emotions. Learn why that happens. Also learn about the connection between ADHD and lying.


Know the signs of mental health issues.

Kids with ADHD have a higher risk for mental health issues. Know the signs of anxiety and depression. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.


Learn more about challenges and ways you can help at home.

Many kids with ADHD have executive functioning issues. Learn how these challenges affect everyday life. Discover different strategies that can help your child with organizational problems, impulse control and other common symptoms of ADHD.


Find support.

You’re not alone in parenting a child with ADHD. Visit your local Parent Training and Information Center to learn about services near you. And connect with parents like you in our community.


Keep in touch with your child’s school.

ADHD symptoms can change over time. So might what your child’s teachers see in the classroom. Communicating with her teachers and specialists regularly can keep you on the same page about whether her supports and services are working.

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright is a veteran writer and editor who helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Paul Yellin

Paul B. Yellin, M.D., FAAP, is the director of the Yellin Center for Mind, Brain, and Education, helping struggling students experience success.

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