For Teachers

Speaking with a Parent Who Refuses a Diagnosis

It’s not uncommon for a parent to resist hearing that his child has ADHD or a learning disability. You, as a teacher, can let him know that a diagnosis of ADHD is nothing to fear.

“The school psychologist recently identified one of my students as having ADHD, but the boy’s father won’t accept the diagnosis. Is there anything I can do?”

It’s not uncommon for a parent to resist hearing that his child has ADHD or a learning disability. Set up a meeting with the father after school, rather than waiting for the next parent-teacher conference night. Make sure your concern comes through by prefacing any advice with something like, “I care a great deal about your child, and wanted to make sure we agree about his needs.” Let him know that a diagnosis of ADHD is nothing to fear. Share some “good news” first, by talking about his son’s positive traits-creativity, empathy, and so on. Then, mention the areas (organization, impulsivity) where you think his son could use some help, suggesting a few interventions, such as a daily report card or a reward system, that would involve parent-teacher teamwork.

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