Ask the Experts

Talking to Pre-Teens About the ADHD Diagnosis

“My 11-year-old daughter refuses any help, academic or otherwise. It’s as if she doesn’t want to admit she has ADHD. She’s bright, but I know she would do much better if she’d just accept a little support. Help!”

young ADHD girl working on her homework at home typing information on a laptop computer
young ADHD girl working on her homework at home typing information on a laptop computer

During the preteen years, it’s common for children, with or without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to resist labels and any interventions they feel draw attention to their differences.

Blossoming teens want to be just like everybody else, so you may want to back off from the ADHD acceptance issue. For now, it’s better to focus on addressing her academic problems.

Meet with her teachers. Together, develop strategies that allow her to shine in her strengths and manage the difficulties. It’s important that accommodations and interventions seem natural, not “special.”

Your daughter will do better with teachers who are genuinely supportive of all students and their unique needs, and who implement accommodations in a matter-of-fact manner.



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