I believe my child is showing signs of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - How can I get them help they need?

You may wish to consult the ADHD page of NAMI’s website where you will find information on the condition, current treatments, and ways to support recovery.  In addition, we would suggest talking to your child’s primary care physician about your observations of ADHD/ADD symptoms.  Your primary care physician may be able to provide more insight into any potential medical or mental health condition as well as aid in finding the proper treatment.

You may find this online screening tool from the Attention Deficit Disorder Association helpful.  Additionally, the following resources may be of help:

  • CHADD is an organization that provides specific information on ADHD/ADD and treatment options and provides online support communities for adults living with ADHD/ADD as well as family members/caregivers. Their information line can be reached at (800) 233-4050, Monday-Friday, 1:00 – 5:00 PM EST.
  • KidsHealth is a non-profit organization founded to help parents, kids, and teens take charge of their health. The Parents section of their website includes information on numerous mental health conditions, including ADHD, information on diagnosis, treatment, and support.

If your child is diagnosed with a mental health condition, the following resources may help you understand the rights they have as a student:

  • Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) is a non-profit organization that works to protect the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families. Their website offers resources and information as well as online community for peer-to-peer support.  Visit the For Students and Families page for  downloadable .pdf resources. 
  • At some point you may want to work with a disability specialist in your child’s school.  Learn about the Child Find mandate to understand the legal requirements for schools to identify children (age birth through 21) who have disabilities and who may be entitled to special education services.
  • Understood for Learning and Attention Issues provides information to parents of children with learning and attention issues about school accommodations. In particular, the website includes information on the “Child Find” mandate that covers school accommodations, IEPs (Individual Education Plans), 504s, and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act). 
  • Center for Parent Information and Resources offers a highly informative and accessible Parents Guide to Getting Good Care for parents (and anyone else) looking to understand more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other education-related mental health laws.  The website maintains a Find a Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) locator on its website to PTACs in their community that perform a variety of direct services for children with disabilities, families, and other organizations that support them.

Finally, The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs serves as a national resource of programs and professionals that assist young people living with emotional and behavioral difficulties.  The website offers a find a program or school feature to locate schools and other programs for teens with a mental or behavioral health condition.

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