Caring for a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be difficult at times. To ensure they get proper treatment for their condition, it’s important to ask for help when you need it. There are many ways you can gain support for yourself and your child throughout their journey with ADHD.
How to Talk to Others
In some situations, you might need to communicate the fact that your child has ADHD. It can be important to do so in situations where their symptoms will be the most apparent, like the classroom. There are a few things you can do to help teachers, coaches, neighbors, or other close people understand ADHD.
Find the right time. Choose an appropriate time to discuss your child’s condition so that you’ll have a person’s full attention. If you’re speaking with a teacher or a coach, schedule an appointment so you can have one-on-one time. It may also be helpful to have check-in conversations occasionally with your child’s teachers. This will ensure that they’re managing their symptoms and succeeding in school.
Share information. The people in your life may only know certain things about ADHD. They might also believe stereotypes or myths about the condition. When you talk to them, ask the other person how much they know about it first. Fill in the points that they may not know and explain to them how your child’s ADHD may be different from their own understanding.
Give examples. Structure your conversation differently based on the person you’re talking with. If it’s a teacher, give examples of how your child’s ADHD may affect them in class. Will they get distracted easily? Will they frequently talk out of turn? Are they likely to be disorganized?
When you speak with a neighbor or another parent, you may want to discuss how your child handles their emotions and behaves around other kids. Do they get angry or frustrated easily? Do they tell fibs to cover up mistakes or get out of things they don’t want to do? Adjust your discussion to fit the person you’re speaking with. This will help them understand how ADHD may affect your child in their company.
Chat about strategies. You may use some tactics at home that work well to manage your child’s ADHD symptoms. In some cases, it might be helpful to share these strategies with teachers, coaches, or nannies. This could include making a daily schedule, using a reward system, or giving your child reminders to stay on task. In addition, you might want to notify others of tactics that you’ve found don’t work well.
Ask for Help
It’s OK to ask for support. You may feel stressed or overwhelmed as you care for a child with ADHD. There are many things you can do to help yourself:
Get professional help. If you begin to feel frustrated, exhausted, or depressed, it may help to talk with a therapist or counselor. Managing your own mental health will help you take care of your child’s well-being in the long run.
Learn from others. It’s important to learn behavior management skills to help your child with their ADHD symptoms. Learning from other parents can give you a different perspective. ADHD foundations like Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) offers a Parent-to-Parent Program, which could help you learn from other caregivers. You can also find parent training programs through your local parent information and resource center.
Find a support group. Foundations like CHADD and your local resource centers can also offer parent support groups. You can attend your local meetings to learn more information about childhood ADHD and connect with other parents in your area.
Ask about accommodations. Learn about accommodations your child could get at school. These can include things like a quiet area in the classroom, extra time for tests, and lesson outlines to help with notetaking. These could help them complete assignments, tests, and meet due dates. Always chat with your child’s teachers about these. Some teachers may be unfamiliar with what they are.