With the advent of back-to-school, some parents end up getting news about their sons that throws them for a loop: the teacher suspects ADHD. Anecdotally it is easy to tell that ADHD is on the rise. We hear about it more and more and we all know someone who has it. Here are some statistics that may surprise you, though:
ē 10.4 million children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2010, an increase of 66% over 2000.
ē Boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD.
ē In an average classroom with 30 children, between 1-3 will have ADHD.
Many mothers of boys have probably wondered at one time or another if their sons have ADHD. After all, the common symptoms of difficulty paying attention and tendency to make careless mistakes, procrastination, disorganized work habits, and failure to complete tasks like homework and chores probably sound like just about every boy everywhere! If your sonís teacher advises you that she thinks he has ADHD, then, here are some of the things you should consider.
1. On what basis does the teacher make the determination?
2. Have you observed the same things your sonís teacher has?
3. What does your pediatrician say?
4. What does the teacher want you to do?
A teacher who is merely telling you what she has observed about your son so that the two of you can work together to bring out the best in him should be viewed differently than a teacher who is telling you she thinks your son has ADHD so that you can medicate him before you send him to school. It is possible that the second teacher has your sonís best interests at heart, but it is also possible that she is trying to make her classroom easier to manage. Finding out where the teacher is coming from can help you decide what to do next.
Letís assume that your doctor agrees with your sonís teacher that your son has symptoms of ADHD. What should you do next? First, investigate all of your options: donít put your son on medication just because the school or your sonís teacher requests it of you. You are your sonís biggest and most important advocate. You are the one who is most invested in what is right for him. While medication is one possible option, there are others to consider including behavior management therapy. Studies have shown that 9 out of 10 children diagnosed with ADHD show improved symptoms with a combination of medication and intensive behavior management therapy.
Hearing that your son has (or may have) ADHD can be overwhelming and a little scary, but it doesnít have to be. Remember that you speak for your son and that anything you do should be for his ultimate benefit. Seek other opinions and investigate all of your options so that you can make an informed decision regarding your sonís care.