It was the third time the teacher called. Not only is your son doing poorly at school, but he’s also disrupting the class. She’s frustrated and hinted that maybe you should consider medication for him. You know he’s frustrated with school. You know he’s intelligent, but nothing seems to click. And you’re frustrated, because everything seems to be a struggle with him.

You’re not sure you want to go the medication route, and everyone you know claims to have the answer. It’s gluten. Just take all the gluten out of his diet. No, it’s red dye. That’s the real cause. What about dairy? So-and-so took their kid off dairy and now he’s an A student. Medication is a miracle. Medication is a menace. You just don’t know which way to turn and you just want something, anything, that will help him and bring some peace to your home.

I get it. My son has ADHD, and even though I’m a mental health professional with experience in assessing and supporting kids with ADHD and other disorders, every child has different needs. Fortunately, I had access to the right resources to meet my son’s needs and help him (and us) cope with the challenges.

One of the most common challenges for kids with ADHD involves their ability to focus. People with ADHD typically have trouble regulating their brain’s attention system. In many cases, their brains have unusually low levels of a chemical called dopamine, which makes it tough for them to direct their focus on tasks they need to accomplish but don’t enjoy, homework being a prime example. Others exhibit what’s been described as hyperfocus, an ability to focus so intently on specific areas of interest that they neglect what they should be doing.

As a parent, you need to know that ADHD isn’t your fault. You haven’t done something wrong. It’s about the way your child’s brain functions. I’ll talk more about what causes ADHD and steps you can take with your children to help them manage the condition at the next session of our Summer Parenting Series on Day, July 17 at 7 p.m. We’ll take a brief look at the options that are available and discuss the pros and cons of each. The workshop is free, but you’ll need to reserve your seat.

If you can’t make the session but are desperate for advice about dealing with ADHD, you can also make an appointment with one of our professional counselors. We have knowledge about and experience with ADHD that can help you, your child, and your other family members. We’ll be happy to help.

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