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Just Diagnosed With ADHD (Children)

How do I tell my 6 year old he has ADHD?

My son who has just turned 6 was finally given the diagnosis of ADHD.  I’ve suspected this for 2 years but could not get the diagnosis until he started having issues when he entered Kindergarten.  I have an appointment in a couple weeks to start him on medication.  My question:  How do I explain ADHD to him and tell him he is going to begin medication?

Replies

Hi ccaponi!

There’s a great article on ADDItudeMag.com that answers this very question, How Do You Explain ADHD to Your Child?(http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9898.html).

There’s an entire section on Talking About ADHD &LDs; on the magazine’s site as well, found here: http://www.additudemag.com/topic/parenting-adhd-children/talking-about-adhd.html.

My son was diagnosed and 6 and I just kept it simple. “You know how you are having a lot of trouble at school and feel like it’s hard to follow directions at home sometimes, Buddy? That’s because your brain is moving really, really fast. You are going to try a medication that can slow your brain down some and help you with all of those things.”

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 03, 2014 at 7:36pm

Thanks, Penny.  I like your approach and will check out the articles.

Posted by ccaponi on Jan 04, 2014 at 2:09am

I would avoid labelling it as ADHD at such an early age.  Too early to be that certain of the diagnosis and at that age the label explains nothing and will get him stigmatised by others. I’d look at Hallowell’s “Distraction” books - he’s the origin of the “you have a high-speed brain” analogies and discusses how he deals with young patients.

The main thing is to tell him his brain works a bit differently without making that a negative thing.  ADHD is about diversity not disability - his brain thinks a bit differently and this is sometimes an advantage and sometimes a disadvantage.  Coordinate this also with teachers and others who need to know.  The more positive messages the better, and it will also help stand up to any bullying or harassment.

His main focus should be on getting the right answers and figuring out how to solve problems his own way and not necessarily following processes designed for neurotypical children that don’t work for him.  As he develops also take into account other factors, and especially intelligence, so consult whoever diagnosed him on that.  If he’s bright, it makes more or different self-directed ways of coping or compensating available.  Mine’s gifted as well, is now 15 and knows more about ADHD than a lot of adults who have it.  I have it myself and I just lend her textbooks when she has questions.

Posted by Cedar on Jan 06, 2014 at 12:07pm

Last night my 7 year old was just diagnosed. He was bouncing off the walls in the doctor’s office. My pediatritan said something really comforting directly to my son, and it just made my heart melt and made me feel so much better to. He said:

You know how sometimes you get in trouble at school and might have heard from teachers that you have trouble focusing and playing with stuff in your desk, and other distractions all the time?  Well, its not your fault. Its not your fault. There is something inside you that is making you this way and we are going to give you some medicine that will help.

Its not your fault.  Those simple words helped a lot. Also, I am not going to use the ADD label either - he doesn’t need to know this word just yet.

Posted by Bunno on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:56pm

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