Another school year is winding to a close, and while most households are trying to finalize plans and figure out how to spend the summer, we’re still trying to get through to the end. Because with the end comes relief. For roughly ten weeks the stress of dealing with my child’s ADHD symptoms is nearly eliminated. Missing assignments, late assignments, phone calls and emails from teachers, tracking medications, trying to decipher truth from lies-it all disappears for a few months every summer. The relief is palpable.
If this sounds at all familiar, I encourage you to spend a few minutes researching ADHD symptoms. If your child has some of the more classic hyperactive symptoms, there is a good chance someone has already brought it up to you. However, if your child isn’t bouncing off the walls, but you feel stuck in a never-ending loop of missing assignments and poor school performance, it is worth your time to investigate.
If the inability to complete tasks, forgetting about what they are supposed to be doing, losing things, not listening when spoken to, and easily distracted all sound familiar, then it could be time to speak to a professional.
Yes! My child seems to have ADHD symptoms-now what??
Your child’s school is a great place to start. The counseling office is likely to be familiar with therapists and professionals in your area that specialize in ADHD. Your pediatrician’s office is another excellent place for help. Many pediatricians are not as educated in ADHD as I expected. Some are very knowledgeable and others either don’t know much or have outdated information. But they can get the process of a diagnosis started, and they should be able to refer you to an expert.
An official diagnosis of ADHD isn’t as simple as some bloodwork or a scan. The best diagnostic tool is a behavior evaluation filled out by parents and teachers. It’s a long and thorough checklist that rates common ADHD behaviors.
In my experience, pediatricians are most likely to prescribe medication and that is the end of their assistance. A good therapist will also be able to provide you with behavioral therapies and strategies for dealing with and managing ALL of ADHD symptoms.
It’s the end of the school year, shouldn’t I deal with an ADHD diagnosis when the new school year starts?
No! Do NOT wait. The best diagnostic evaluation will need to be filled out by your child’s teacher(s). You want this done now, while your child’s behaviors are fresh for the teacher that has been dealing with him all year. In the fall, your child’s new teacher doesn’t know him yet, and his old teacher hasn’t seen him in months. It can also take months to get in with a specialist to be evaluated.
Depending on your child and the severity of the ADHD (yes! there is a scale for that too!), medication may be recommended. Using the summer months to fine tune the correct dosage is a good idea. Whether or not you decide to use medication, the summer months can be a great time to start behavior therapies to help manage ADHD. This gives them time to be well established before school starts.
The ADHD diagnosis and medication will make everything better, right?
I wish! For us, the ADHD diagnosis was a relief. It wasn’t bad parenting, it wasn’t a lazy kid. My child has ADHD and has problems with executive functions. She is never going to be like everyone else, her brain is different.
Knowing that your child has ADHD and that he needs something different than other kids can really change your child’s educational experience. They are not the same. Their brains are different.
Using a bad school year to evaluate can be one of the best things you ever do for your child. Even if they don’t have ADHD, figuring out what is going on to make it better for the next school year can only bring a good outcome which is what each of us wants for our child.
For more on my journey through ADHD check out my earlier post about my daughter’s ADHD diagnosis. http://coloradosprings.citymomsblog.com/mom/dont-label-my-kid-adhd/
It’s not easy, but you are NOT in this alone. There are many of us that have gone through this, and most are more than happy to share our experiences and help you along this journey. Good luck!