When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, parents may be confused, not knowing where to turn or what to do. Below are ten tips for parents after their child has been diagnosed with ADHD:
1) Find the right medical practitioner. Many primary doctors today can diagnose ADHD in children. Even so, this does not mean they are able to effectively treat ADHD symptoms. It is important to find a clinician that can create a custom treatment plan based on your child’s specific symptoms and areas he or she may find particularly difficult. The medical professional you choose should be willing to coordinate care, including working with therapists (if necessary), teachers and other caregivers.
2) Make sure you have an accurate diagnosis. Children with ADHD commonly have other comorbid conditions, such as depression, anxiety or learning disabilities. Having a treatment plan that addresses the specific challenges your child faces is based on having an accurate and complete diagnosis. If you find a treatment plan is not bringing about the results you desire, talk with your doctor about additional assessments to determine if there is a different diagnosis, or an additional diagnosis, that should be treated as well.
3) Be aware of all treatments available for children. Research has shown the most effective treatment for children with ADHD is a combination of medication and behavioral modification programs. Behavioral modification can include teaching skills for self-control, socialization and target specific behavioral challenges. Understanding the treatments available can help you make an informed decision on what is best for your child.
4) Talk with your child’s teacher and school personnel to create an educational plan to help your child succeed in school. Children with ADHD may not be eligible for an Individualized Educational Plan but may be eligible for services and accommodations under Section 504. Even if your child does not qualify for accommodations, school personnel may be willing to work with you in other ways, such as additional reading instruction or increased communication between parents and teachers. Remember, teachers want your child to succeed and most will work with you.