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Dr. David Rabiner's Advice to Parents

* To Tell or Not to Tell My Child's Teacher...

"Our child was diagnosed with ADHD this summer. My husband does not want to tell his teacher because he is concerned that our son will be stigmatized if we do. What do you suggest?"

A number of parents that I have worked with have expressed this type of concern. Unfortunately, it is certainly true that this can happen. A teacher can expect to have difficulty with a child who has ADHD, and perhaps not give the child a fair chance as a result.

All I can say is that in my experience, this is the exception rather than the rule, and most teachers I have dealt with have tried very hard to help their students who have ADHD.

Children with ADHD most often do require extra attention and certain accommodations to help them be successful in the classroom, and this will not happen unless the teacher is aware of the child's situation. Also, the educational rights that children with ADHD are legally entitled to (see http://www.helpforadd.com/rights.htm) require that the child be officially identified with ADHD by the school system. Otherwise, the schools can not develop a 504 plan or, perhaps, and Individual Education Plan (IEP) that can help address the child's educational needs.

So, I have always advised parents that in order for their child to get the services that may be needed to help them succeed, there is no choice but to have the child identified by the school as having ADHD. If your child is able to be successful at school without any such extra assistance or educational accommodations, than this may not be necessary. When this is not the case, as is true for most students with ADHD, I believe that the potential benefits of having the child identified outweigh the possible risks that your husband is concerned about.
 

David Rabiner, PhD
Licensed Psychologist



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