Reply To: Apathy! Smart 5th grade boy doesn't care

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My son was diagnosed in first grade and was doing OK (not great) until around the 5th grade. At that point it was not only school that he was having difficulty with but he was having great difficulties socializing. As we learned over the next few years other symptoms can coexist with ADHD; for him anxiety. He is now 17 and will graduate in this spring. He can’t wait to leave the school environment and will focus on a job and part-time college classes in his area of interest, music, after graduation. The hardest part for me as a parent was to let go of my expectations for my son and see him for who he is.

A lot of changes begin to take place at this stage in a child’s life with adolescence right around the corner. On top of that he may be having an emotional reaction to his new diagnosis. I would recommend observing him on the whole: look at his behavior in school, with friends, with family, etc. Try not to put a spot light on his school performance (unless warranted) or overreact to grades. Be available to talk to him anytime without judgement. Don’t forget doing fun things and normal family functions (meals especially) to facilitate communication. Reach out to teachers to see if they have ideas that may help make projects more interesting (that tap into his interests). Don’t make it all about school; if he has hobbies make sure you support that too. If you feel he is having difficulties beyond the norm don’t hesitate to get help. You are on this journey with your son so hang in there and be patient; treat him with respect and cherish the the person that he is.