The ADHD Child’s Bill of Rights

Around the time I first started to treat ADHD, I found this wonderful document, which was first printed in the newsletter of the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children. Authored by Ruth Harris, the ADHD Child’s Bill of Rights can help every parent better understand their ADHD child and what he or she needs. I’d like to end the book with these ten “rights”—because they’re so right for every child with ADHD.

  1. Help me to focus. Please teach me through my sense of touch. I need “hands-on” help and body movement.
  2. I need to know what comes next. Please give me a structured environment where there is a dependable routine. Give me an advance warning if there will be changes.
  3. Wait for me, I’m still thinking. Please allow me to go at my own pace. If I’m rushed, I get confused and upset.
  4. I’m stuck, I can’t do it . . . ! Please offer me options for problem solving. If the road is blocked, I need to know the detours.
  5. Is it right? I need to know. Please give me rich and immediate feedback on how I’m doing.
  6. I didn’t know I wasn’t in my seat . . . ! Please remind me to stop, think, and act.
  7. Am I almost done . . . ? Please give me short work periods with short-term goals.
  8. What . . . ? Please don’t say, “I already told you that.” Tell me again, in different words. Give me a signal. Draw me a symbol.
  9. I know it’s all wrong, isn’t it . . . ? Please give me praise for partial success. Reward me for self-improvement, not just for perfection.
  10. But why do I always get yelled at . . . ? Please catch me doing something right and praise me for the specific positive behavior. When I’m having a bad day, remind me—and yourself—about my good points.