How can I protect my child with ADHD?

Advocacy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) usually means some form of social action to promote the rights of those with this diagnosis. Many times parents of ADHD children find themselves in the role of social reformers trying to get accommodations for their children in school systems. These forms of ADHD advocacy are essential. But in addition to social change, parents can make dramatic improvements in their child by becoming a vocal supporter of their child in being persistent in pointing out his or her strengths to teachers, family and friends. Your child will live up to any positive expectations you can create. Too many times, instead of ADHD advocacy, parents fall into the trap of apologizing for their child. When a teacher complains about your child, the first step is to say "What can we do to support my child?" This is the heart of ADHD advocacy, switching from labels to asking for concrete solutions to specific problems.

Many times parents are accused of just making excuses for their child when they point out the many gifts of their own child. Don't let this false charge slow down your efforts to point out your child's strengths and ask for supports in other arenas. ADHD advocacy means thinking of yourself as a "spin doctor" for your own child. Remember that many times, you are the child's only protection from internalizing labels that can lead to a downward spiral of self-esteem. It's too often I see children diagnosed with ADHD and then two years later see multiple additional diagnoses including depression, anxiety or substance dependence. As a parent, you have the power to stop this vicious cycle. You can explain to your child, to teachers and to family members that ADHD is a difference, not a disorder. Better yet, if you can find and focus on your child's gifts, you will find that one of the most potent treatments for your child is ADHD advocacy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.