NORMAN — Q: Our son has just been diagnosed with ADHD, and we have been told he may need social skills training. He is in third grade, and this is all very new and foreign. Do you know anything about this training, and what does this mean for his future school endeavors?
— Ben and Stacey, Oklahoma City
Dear Ben and Stacey,
The first and most important thing we can tell you is to start researching what ADHD actually is.
Many people — even those in the education field — think that ADHD is simply a condition where one is not able to sit still for any length of time. In reality, ADHD has an effect on every aspect of life. It affects not only the person with the diagnosis but also family and friends.
When you were told about social skills, the doctor was more than likely referring to things such as his inability to understand body language, control the volume of his voice in certain situations and understand personal space of others, just to name a few.
Having a child diagnosed with ADHD is both delightful as well as frustrating, all at the same time. They are the go-to people if you need something done. You just have to learn to give directions and instructions in small doses. When the first part of the task has been completed, move on to the next portion.
Don’t try to give multi-part instructions, because it will only result in frustration for both you and him.
Learn ways to lower your frustration by doing research. The more you know, the easier life will be. We have taught numerous children with the same diagnosis as your son.
There is a huge difference in the behavior and social life in those kids whose parents chose to medicate them during school hours. It’s to his advantage that the diagnosis came at such an early age.