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How To Discuss ADHD Signs and Symptoms to Encourage Parent Interventions

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/11/2012

If you believe you may have a student with ADHD, then you should discuss this with parents at parent teacher conferences or a parent teacher meeting. This is a delicate conversation to have with parents, so you may need to think about the ADHD signs, symptoms and possible parent interventions ahead.

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    Before the Parent Teacher Conference

    If you believe you have a child with ADHD in your classroom, ADHD signs and symptoms as well as interventions should be discussed with parents as soon as possible. Before parent teacher conferences, you should take careful observation notes if you think you have a student with ADHD. You should also check these notes against an ADHD checklist to double-check ADHD symptoms in children. You are a professional, who observes these children on a regular basis; but this discussion with parents may be difficult. You should make sure you have your observation notes and support information accessible. You may even want to invite some special area teachers, such as art or music, to attend the parent teacher meeting with you to discuss ADHD parent interventions. Ask them to bring any notes that they may have about the child's ADHD signs and symptoms in the special area classrooms.

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    During the Conference

    During the parent teacher conferences, you will want to make sure to do the following things when talking with parents about a possible ADHD diagnosis for their child based on ADHD signs and symptoms, and interventions you tried.

    1. It is very important that you do not diagnosis the student with ADHD. A medical doctor must make the diagnosis. Your goal is just to let parents know that you have observed and recorded many ADHD signs and symptoms in children for their child. You are concerned that the student may have ADHD, and you are suggesting that parents take their child to his or her pediatrician.
    2. Be prepared to share notes and specific details with parents who are sure to have many questions about your suggestion. If you feel these particular parents will be upset, you can invite the school counselor or principal to the meeting to help answer questions the parents may have about students with ADHD symptoms and interventions.
    3. Have information available at the meeting to give to parents about ADHD and ADHD parent interventions. Some types of information that parents may want are a checklist of ADHD signs and symptoms and interventions--medications and alternative therapies. Ask the school counselor to help you gather this material before the parent teacher conferences.
    4. If parents become very upset or the conference runs long, schedule a follow-up parent teacher meeting. Nothing has to be decided that night. Sometimes, parents need time to digest the information that you presented them about the ADHD signs and symptoms and interventions.
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    Following Up

    You may want to follow up with parents if a second meeting was not scheduled. You could do this with a quick phone call or an email, whichever form of communication the parents prefer. During the follow-up, you will want to:

    • find out if parents are planning to or have taken the child to the doctor after the discussion at the parent teacher conferences
    • answer any more questions the parents have about students with ADHD symptoms and ADHD parent interventions
    • offer your encouragement and support for the student and his family
    • remind parents you are available to answer questions and fill out questionnaires from the doctor.

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    References

    ADDitude Magazine: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/697.html

    Personal experience as a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teacher