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This reply was originally posted by user Pump2Duncan in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
My 10 year old is on Concerta. I didn’t feel right giving him a pill everyday that he didn’t understand why he was taking. So he knows he has ADHD. The first time we interact with a new teacher or doctor, the first whispered question is always “does he know?”
I understand your concerns. My son has tried to use it as an excuse a few times. We just don’t allow it. If he has a hard time paying attention in class, ADHD isn’t an excuse, but it can be the cause. So we look at ways to help him cope so the behavior stops. And since he knows about his ADHD, he’s able to fully participate in these discussions. He was able to tell us that drawing in his journal in class really helps him concentrate during lecturers and not have as many outbursts.
He also has a hard time with friends, and as he has gotten older he is starting to notice just how much of a hard time he has making and keeping friends. So knowing about his ADHD helps him realize why he might be having a hard time connecting and he can come to us to help him learn new ways to interact with peers.
He was also able to fully participate in medication type and dosage. The doctor was able to directly ask him how the medication made him feel, does it help him focus, did he think he could use more help, etc. I don’t think my son would have been able to give fully informed responses to those questions if he did not know why he was taking the medication in the first place.
Recently my younger daughter asked why my son took a pill every morning with breakfast. My son chimed in that it was because he had ADHD and that just meant his brain goes as fast as The Flash and the pill just helps him focus on people. (They’re really into superheroes right now)
I was happy that he was able to answer the question in an unashamed way. I’m glad he knows.