Health Education

Explaining ADHD to Your Child

Explaining ADHD to Your Child

August 07, 2015  |   

If your child has recently been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), you likely have many questions about the future. Perhaps you’re wondering whether your child is old enough to be told about the diagnosis or how to explain ADHD to a child. The physicians at Woodburn Pediatrics specialize in ADHD treatment, and have some tips to help you manage your son or daughter’s new diagnosis.

Should You Tell Your Child About ADHD?
Your child likely already knows something is different, either because he can’t pay attention in school, because he feels his mind racing, or because he’s old enough to know that visiting the doctor for testing means something. Be honest with your child and use age-appropriate explanations when discussing the ADHD diagnosis.

Toddlers don’t need technical jargon, but will understand that this is why they always have the wiggles or don’t listen very well to mom and dad. Older kids, however, can handle the scientific ADHD definition, as well as facts pertaining to their individual cases, such as short attention spans or impulsive behaviors. Honesty and a willingness to answer questions without blame goes a long way with kids of all ages, and encourages them to view their ADHD as just another part of them, rather than a stigmatized affliction.

What Will Your Child Want To Know About ADHD?
Curiosity and a need for information will vary largely based on age and individuality. Toddlers and elementary school-aged kids usually ask a lot of “why” and “how come” questions, but they may still have some of the same concerns as older kids. All children want to know if ADHD will make them different from their classmates and friends, and if others will be able to “tell” that something is “wrong” with them.

Reassuring your child that he or she is perfectly normal, and probably won’t be the only one in class with ADHD will soothe many fears. Tweens and teens may wonder whether they’ll have to take medicine, or see a psychiatrist.

Tell your child that the ADHD diagnosis is actually a good thing, because now they can understand how their brain works and learn how deal with issues at home and school, like inattentiveness, talking out of turn, or poor decision making. You can even use their diagnosis as a way to teach your child a little bit about neuroscience, identifying which imbalances lead to their symptoms.

A new ADHD diagnosis is never simple to navigate, but having professional help makes mitigating symptoms more manageable. We’re happy to help you and your family find the best treatment plan for your child. We offer ADHD testing and more. Read more ADHD topics at our blog.