My Child Was Diagnosed With ADHD — Now What?
In their most recent national survey of children’s health, the CDC estimated that 9.4% of children and teens in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD.
If your child is one of them, you may be wondering what the diagnosis means for your child, for you, and for your family, and where to begin to better understand ADHD and find the support you need. Here are a few first steps.
Talk With Your Child About Their ADHD Diagnosis
It’s important to explain the diagnosis to your child and help them understand how it can impact different areas of their life, including at school, at home, and with friends. Make sure to communicate to them that ADHD doesn’t define them, and work to empower them to understand and manage their symptoms.
Help them see that though their fast-moving brain can make it hard to focus, sit still, and process thoughts, it can also be a strength.
Their high energy and their brain that comes up with lots of new ideas can be a great thing. It’s just a matter of learning to manage their symptoms and working to decrease the parts of their ADHD that cause them stress or make it difficult to interact with others. Teach them to self-advocate — talk them through the ways they can ask for help when they need it.
Make sure your child understands that they’re not alone — not only will they have the support they need, but many people share their diagnosis, including highly successful people. Google celebrities and leaders that have ADHD so they can see examples of people with ADHD who are thriving.
Learn As Much As You Can About ADHD
The more you understand ADHD yourself, the more you can help your child. Learn the basics about ADHD, including its varied symptoms, how it can affect daily life, and the link between ADHD and other mental health issues.
Many children with ADHD have strong feelings and struggle to regulate their emotions. Kids with ADHD also have a higher risk of mental health struggles like anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Learn the signs to watch for in your child and talk to your doctor if they are exhibiting signs of mental health struggles.
Children with ADHD often have trouble with executive functioning as well. Executive functions are a set of mental skills that include working memory, self control, organization, and flexible thinking. This can make it difficult for them to focus, follow directions, and handle all of the emotions they feel. Make sure your game plan for your child includes ways to help them manage these difficulties.
Look Into Treatment and Therapy Options
Talk to your child’s pediatrician about available treatment options, including behavioral therapy, social skills groups, medications, and more. It may help to reference the
If you’re considering ADHD medication as part of your child’s treatment plan, discuss the different types of medications available and their common side effects with your child’s doctor. Keep in mind that it may take a while to find the right medication and dosage to suit your child’s needs — your doctor will work with you to make adjustments until the right balance is found.
Include Brain Training in Your Child’s Treatment Plan
Brain training with LearningRx-Raleigh can significantly help children with ADHD. While LearningRx does not diagnose or treat ADHD, our brain training program has helped people with various diagnoses — including ADHD — strengthen their cognitive skills.
Brain training — a form of cognitive training — can strengthen the cognitive skills our brain uses every day to think, learn, and perform. This includes attention skills. Strengthening their attention skills can help children with ADHD improve their performance in school.
Over many years of working with ADHD clients, we have found that brain training helps improve processing speed, working memory (i.e., short-term memory), and long-term memory, as well as broad attention skills. Improvement in these areas will not only boost school performance, but can also help your ADHD child reduce stress and improve their overall quality of life.
Work With Your Child’s School To Create a Support Plan
Every child is different, and will need different modes of support at home and at school to help them manage their ADHD. Working with your child’s doctor, teachers, psychologist, and other professionals as needed to create a support plan will ensure that your child has the support and accommodations they need in all areas of their life.
Set up a meeting with your child’s school, including your child’s doctor and psychologist if possible. The school may do their own evaluation, but any outside diagnoses and recommendations can help with the process of setting up a plan for your child.
There are two types of plans your child may benefit from, depending on their needs: an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), or a 504 Plan.
- IEP: A plan developed to ensure a child with a disability receives specialized instruction and related services.
- 504 Plan: A plan developed to ensure a child with a disability receives accommodations that ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.
If your child would benefit from specialized instruction, an IEP will be created for them, and their progress and growth will be measured throughout their participation in the IEP. If they don’t need specialized instruction, but would benefit from certain accommodations to help them thrive in school, a 504 plan will be created for them. Both plans will typically be updated annually to ensure your child gets the most effective means of support for their needs and circumstances.
As your child grows, their symptoms and needs may change, and their IEP or 504 plan should change accordingly to ensure your child has the support they need to thrive in school.
There Is Help For Your Child’s ADHD Diagnosis
When your child is diagnosed with ADHD, it can feel overwhelming. But rest assured that with the right support systems in place, your child can thrive at school, at home, and in life.If you’d like to learn more about how brain training with LearningRx-Raleigh can help improve your child’s ADHD symptoms, contact us today.