What is the first thing a parent should do when her child is diagnosed with ADHD?

If your child’s Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis was made by a medical or mental health professional, in all likelihood you were given some recommendations following the diagnostic process. If you are comfortable with those recommendations, follow them. However, if you have concerns about the diagnosis or any of the recommendations that were made, you can always get a second opinion from another provider. It’s important to make use of your healthcare community!

If the diagnosis was made by someone other than your child’s pediatrician, you should let your pediatrician know about the diagnosis. At some point you may also want to talk to the pediatrician about medication options for your child.

You should also consider letting your child’s school know about the diagnosis because the school can provide academic accommodations and other necessary services.

In addition, you might want to seek out the services of a behavioral psychologist. For many families who have an ADHD child at home, behavioral psychologists can be very helpful in suggesting strategies to manage children’s challenging behaviors.

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when you get a new diagnosis of any sort. If you want to learn more about ADHD, you may wish to read Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell Barkley. Another great resource is CHADD (www.chadd.org), which is a support organization for families affected by ADHD.


Lisa Efron Lisa Efron, PhD, specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with behavioral disorders. She directs the Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems (HALP) Clinic, which is an evaluation clinic for children between the ages of 4 and 18 who are grappling with school problems.

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