Erin Stewart: When you think your child has ADD, where do you start?

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Jessica McCabe, who runs a Facebook site called How to ADHD, shared a Mother’s Day post thanking her mother for helping her.

People toss around the terms ADD and ADHD so casually these days that they’ve almost become less of a medical diagnosis for attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and more of a throw-away word to describe any kid who can’t focus or has endless energy.

But for parents who deal with the actual diagnosis and the therapy appointments and medicines that go with it, these disorders are so much more than the flippant terms bandied about by parents who have never had to face ADD or ADHD head on.

As of yet, I am one of these parents. I have not had a child diagnosed, although I have had my concerns about whether we might have a child who could benefit from visiting a counselor about distraction, forgetfulness and disorganization.

And for all my pro-medicine stance on things like depression and anxiety, I find myself nervous to walk down a path that may lead to an “official diagnosis” or a prescription. I hate to admit it, but I’m hiding my head in the sand hoping the problem will resolve. Hoping that some organization skills, checklists and a day planner may nip this thing in the bud.

Maybe it will.

But maybe it won’t. And if that’s the case, I’m honestly scared of what comes next.

I’ve watched friends struggle with children with ADHD. They’ve dealt with medicines that made their children severely depressed and even suicidal. They’ve dealt with teachers who think the disorder is a sham, and other…

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