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PREVIEW: How to Become an Advocate for Your ADHD Child by Lara Honos-Webb

Once you have determined that your child does have ADHD, it is important that as a parent you become an advocate for your child. You need to ask your child’s teachers what they can do to support your child. Adjustments in the classroom can make big differences in your child’s performance at school. Additionally, your child knows if you have her back or not. Knowing you are going to bat for her, will give him or her more motivation to achieve.


  1. Your child needs for you to be on his or her side. In short, he needs you to become an advocate for him. Research has shown that a teacher’s perception of your child will dramatically impact his actual performance in school. This means that when teachers complain about your child, rather than offer profuse apologies, you might help the teacher reframe your child’s behavior as resulting from his gifts or an alternative explanation rather than from the diagnosis of ADHD. In one case, a parent was able to tell a teacher that his son’s antics toward a girl in the class were the result of awkward attempts at expressing his newfound interest in her.
  1. As an advocate for your child, you should try to get the teacher to make accommodations that are not punitive or humiliating for her. Many times, what happens in the classroom is that teachers “diss” students in front of their friends causing them to feel humiliated which provokes them to act out even more. If a teacher can allow a child to sit in the back and get out of her seat occasionally without being punished, this can help a child to focus more and not feel so negative toward being in the classroom. Some might ask if allowing the student to get out of his seat is going to be disruptive to the other students. But chances are that the ADHD student will likely get out of her seat anyways. The disruption to the class is made much worse by the attempts to discipline the child and resulting increase in bad behavior that results from the child’s reaction to being humiliated.


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