Kick the Stigma, Your Child Needs Help
ADHD and Early Diagnosis
By Ev Roth, CEO and Founder ThriveKids™, Inc.
When my son was born, he was so beautiful and so sweet, I would venture to say on the cusp of angelic! Despite all of this, I knew he had a unique approach to life and that it wasn’t going to be an easy path. Even after his first steps, there were signs of his incredibly strong will and his lack of focus. Despite these clues, I felt that because of his intelligence and creativity, somehow I would be able to harness the wonderful and overcome the challenging by focusing on his strengths and giving him the necessary tools to develop a platform for independence.
Every day has been a small personal battle; in truth, it was like going to war. Phone calls from school a constant, judgment from others (particularly parents and educators) never ceased. We laugh now, but for the first two years of my sons education, he was in a private school… every day that we went in to the school to drop him off, we knew how he had behaved the day before by the faces of our fellow parents and our educators. The lack of greetings in the hallways, the aversion of eyes and the subtle shaking of heads. Even when others were going through the very same battles with their own children, they refused to acknowledge their child’s issues, and they judged. This made it impossible to build community and obtain help and compassion from others.
I still wasn’t clear as to what exactly we were dealing with; I was told by doctors, educators, friends that he would grow out of it, or that it was too early to diagnose. How frustrating it was to sit and wait with nothing to guide me! No one to help my son develop useful tools to help him overcome challenges, nor anyone to share with us the legal rights we had for him to access the curriculum and get the assessments and tools he needed from the school or outside of it. So much time was lost in building an infrastructure for future independence.
I sought out available solutions through some well-known organizations, but I always came up disappointed. They didn’t seem to understand how to adapt to my son, and rather were trying to give him tools to adapt to a broken system. All that I could do was develop my own imperfect system to try and help my son overcome his challenges and be the best that he could be, every day.
Get Over the Stigma, Why Early Detection is Critical
We always hear that all kids are active, particularly boys, but what sets kids with ADHD (Attention, Deficit, Hyperactivity, Disorder) apart is the frequency with which they are hyperactive, inattentive and/or impulsive.
For years doctors and professionals have advised that diagnosis cannot be obtained until age 7 or 8 or even later. Things have changed; however, and many are able to obtain a diagnosis beginning as early as age 4.
I always hated labels; I felt that confining my child to a label limited him and his future possibilities. After 10 years of experience, I now have a very different outlook. I use the analogy of a disfigurement: If our child were injured and was left with a visible disfigurement, wouldn’t we do everything in your power to repair it? Yes, I know I would. We want our children to “fit in”, to make friends and be accepted into their peer group.
With ADHD, your child’s challenges may not be externally visible to the world but they are equally as painful in your child’s daily life. A life that we do not see in its entirety once they are dropped off at the school gate, and are away from our protection six or more hours each day, five days a week. Bullying by others (students, and even some adults, etc.) scars our children and can disable them from future success. Additionally, anxiety and other Psychological impacts can exasperate their condition if the proper attention is not given early on.
Getting over the stigmatic impact and exposure on us as parents is an important part of beginning the process of helping our child. Then developing a well-rounded foundation for your child will ensure future success and independence. Long term, this is the most beneficial and deserved outcome for our children.
My advice for getting over the stigma:
- Educate Yourself and Your Family-there are far more resources available today to help. Yes you will need to get teachers, caregivers and others involved in the diagnosis process, but it will all be worthwhile in the end. Early detection will assist in identifying some of the specific challenges your child is experiencing, as every case of ADHD is unique.
- Find Programs– that directly assist your child in their particular challenges, or find one that offers an integrated approach.
- Love and Support Your Child– give your child as much advocacy and support as you can, both at home, and at school. Realize that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder; it can be improved, however children who are loved and supported are greatly enabled by kindness, empathy, advocay and love.
- Create Community– if you see others having challenges with their children, support them. Knowing that other parents are sharing in your experience can be enough.
About Ev and ThriveKids™, Inc.
ThriveKids™ offers fully integrated programs for kids with and without exceptionalities. We believe that kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD and related diagnosis, are simply neurodiverse, they learn differently. Our programs give kids the tools they need to become Fit. Focused and Fearless!
The ThriveKids™ Mission:
It is our Mission to advocate on behalf of children with and without exceptionalities. We help children achieve their highest level of personal value, by giving them the tools they need in order to gain independence from head to toe. Our unique and proprietary programs are centered on the body, mind and character of each neurodiverse child. They offer the most supportive and community-driven approach available, in a way that connects us with our clients and extends to their families in a long term and meaningful way.
For more information about ThriveKids, Inc. and how we can help: