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“‘Too Extreme’ for Therapy? My Son’s Fight for Treatment”

Can a therapist refuse to treat a patient? Yes – and it happened to my “extreme” child with ADHD. While we’re back at square one, we’ll never give up on him. And that therapist, to her loss, will never know our child’s kindness, thoughtfulness, and beauty.

Side profile of a young boy

My husband and I have two wild kiddos. Our oldest has six behavior diagnoses. We’ve always referred to him as an “extreme child” because everything he does is extreme. While doctors, teachers, or an onlooker in aisle 9 might focus on his extreme meltdowns, he is also extremely thoughtful, joy-filled, kind, and hilarious.

Our son hadn’t been in therapy since the pandemic hit because online work was very challenging for him. After spending four months on the waiting list for a highly recommended therapist, my husband and I were excited and hopeful as we walked into our intake appointment.

The counselor smiled and greeted us warmly. She asked us detailed questions about our son’s medical history, his behaviors and past specialists, and what types of medications, therapies, and strategies we had used in the past.

[Your Free Guide to Better Behavior Through Therapy]

She nodded along as we told our story and said she would come up with a plan by the end of the week.

The call came, and I was hopeful. I expected great news.

“Your child is just too extreme a case for us,” she said. Other words came after that, but the call suddenly sounded funny — like Charlie Brown’s teacher was on the other end.

We went there for help, for hope, for honest feedback that would help us help our boy. Instead, she turned my own word around on me — extreme.

I cried. I was angry, and felt hopeless, lost, and misunderstood. But she doesn’t know how far he’s come! I said loudly to myself.

[Read: Why Your Child’s ADHD Outbursts Are So Explosive — and Isolating]

So we sit at square one. We haven’t given up. We haven’t stopped advocating for our extreme child. The sad thing is that the therapist will never know how extremely beautiful our son is, too.

Extreme Child with ADHD: Next Steps


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1 Comments & Reviews

  1. Oh how I wish I was a therapist right now. I am a teacher in specialized settings and I get a lot of extreme kids. The negative is only a small fraction of who they are, always. And when you start making break throughs, it is magic.

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