Many parents worry about labeling their child, stigmatizing them, or excusing behavior problems, if they tell their child that he or she has a diagnosis of Asperger’s, autism, or ADHD. I’ve found just the opposite. Kids know that they are getting in trouble in school, they know that other kids seem to have an easier time with following the rules or making friends, but without knowing about their own diagnosis, they just think that they’re bad or stupid. To me, that seems so unfair! I firmly believe that parents should tell their kids, in an age appropriate way, of course, about their diagnosis, and the strengths and difficulties that go along with that diagnosis.
Books are a great way to enhance a conversation about your child’s diagnosis. For kids with ADHD, All Dogs Have ADHD, by Kathy Hoopman is a fun and positive option. The book is a simple read, with cute pictures of dogs, and nicely presented, non-judging comments about behaviors and symptoms. Problems are presented realistically, such as social issues or difficulties with following directions, but the book also presents the energy and fun that can make kids with ADHD such a joy to be with.
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Patricia Robinson MFT
I'm a licensed therapist in Danville, California and a coach for Asperger's and ADHD nationwide. I work with individuals of all ages who have special needs, like Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADD, ADHD, and the family members and partners of special needs individuals.