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Could your child have...?

I’m Concerned My Child Might Have ADHD. Now What?

By Amanda Morin

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If you’re concerned your child could have ADHD, you might not know how to find out for sure, or where to turn for help. There are a number of things you can do to get the answers you need to best help your child. Here are 10 steps you can take to determine if your child has ADHD—and where to go from there.

1

Learn about the symptoms of ADHD.

Get a better idea of whether what you’re seeing in your child could be signs of ADHD. Learn about common symptoms.


2

Pay close attention to your child’s behavior.

Observe your child over a period of time and make notes about the things that are concerning you. Keep in mind that ADHD is often more than hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. It can affect emotions and sleep. ADHD can also look like daydreaming.

3

Find out what’s been happening at school.

Talk to your child’s teacher about what she’s seeing in the classroom, at recess or during lunch. Ask about informal supports she may already be using to help your child.

4

Talk to your child’s doctor.

Call your child’s pediatrician to express your concerns. You may want to ask to speak privately so you can share notes and thoughts without your child present.

5

Consult with a specialist.

Ask your pediatrician about a possible referral to a specialist who can diagnose or rule out ADHD.

6

Work with your child’s school.

Decide if you’re comfortable sharing with the school that you’re exploring the possibility that your child has ADHD. It can be helpful information as you work together to find ways to manage issues that come up in school.

7

Look into getting an evaluation for supports at school.

Consider requesting a free educational evaluation at school. Kids who have ADHD often have other learning issues, too. The evaluation may provide information that could help your child get the support she needs in school, such as accommodations.

8

Meet with the school to discuss supports and services.

Schedule a meeting with the school and provide a copy of the specialist’s or pediatrician’s report. Even if the school has done its own evaluation, having a doctor’s recommendations can help get a 504 plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) in place if your child is eligible.

9

Investigate treatments and therapies.

Talk to your child’s doctor about treatment options, including cognitive behavior therapy and medications for ADHD.

10

Explore more ways to help your child.

Get answers to common questions parents have about ADHD. Learn about ways you can support your child at home. And consider connecting with parents like you. They may be able to share tips and advice that can help.

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Mark Griffin

Mark Griffin, Ph.D., was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.

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