ADHD in Children: When a Teacher Recognizes ADHD Symptoms
ADHD Treatment: Coordinating With the School
When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, it can be difficult for parents to admit and accept it. But it may also be a relief, particularly if you have had concerns about your child's behavior or failure to excel academically. Becoming aware of the problem also allows you to take steps to improve symptoms, typically with ADHD medications, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana), amphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall, Vyvanse) or nonstimulants (Strattera or Intuniv), along with a structured behavior modification program.
Children with ADHD may also be experiencing depression and anxiety, and may benefit from mental health counseling or therapy.
While the school nurse may play a role in dispensing ADHD medications, your child's teacher will be important in carrying out the behavioral component of a treatment plan. You'll need to keep open the lines of communication with the teacher to ensure a consistent system of incentives and discipline between school and home. For example, a younger child's teacher may make a checklist and reward the child with a star or smiley face each time he or she completes a certain number of items on the list.
You may have a similar system at home or provide a bigger reward -- such as a special dinner, a family movie night, or an extra hour of TV or computer time -- when your child gets a certain number of stars or smiley faces.
Getting Support for Yourself if Your Child Has ADHD
Your child's teacher can be a good advocate and resource, but you may want more help dealing with the challenges and emotions of parenting a child with ADHD, or with concerns about medications or other issues. Your child's doctor, as well as the mental health professional who makes the diagnosis, may be of help. It’s can also be extremely beneficial to read and learn as much as you can about ADHD and its treatment.
Many parents find it helpful to speak with other parents of children with ADHD. A national nonprofit organization called Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) offers a variety of resources, including support groups for families dealing with the disorder. The organization's web site lists support groups in your area, and gives information on how to start a group.