4 Reasons I Had My Kid Tested for ADHD - Your Kid's Table

Learn 4 reasons I evaluated my son for ADHD, as well as the benefits of getting a diagnosis. Personal perspective from an OT and mom.


Recently one of my sons received an ADHD diagnosis, and I have to be honest with you- It would have been really easy to not get him tested for ADHD. 

I spent some time thinking, “Does he need this diagnosis?  Is it going to benefit him? Why are we getting him diagnosed?”  

I think that when our kids are able to push through and function in some capacity, even if they need our help, even if we’re hearing from teachers, or maybe you’re just seeing the difficulties at home, as was in our case, it can be very easy to say,

 “I’m not going to get them evaluated because I don’t want them to have a label.”

 “I don’t want others to look at them and think that they understand who my child is just because they also have this diagnosis.”

 “I don’t don’t want this diagnosis to follow them for the rest of their lives.” 

If you have ever said this about your child, I understand.

I, as a pediatric occupational therapist, have worked with countless families who have kind of wrestled with these questions and wondered if it really worth getting a child evaluated. 

Especially if one or both parents feel strongly that they don’t want to use medication. 

Well I want to tell you ultimately why we decided to get my son evaluated, and I am so glad that we did. 


4 Reasons Getting a Diagnosis Can Be a Good Thing

The first reason is that I knew that a diagnosis was going to help us understand his needs in a different way.

Instead of looking at the things that he did on a daily basis that frustrated, that wore me and my husband down, that literally had us banging our heads against the wall wondering if we were raising a child with poor character. 

And because there was such a lack of impulse control and poor attention, that sometimes seemed to translate into just this abrupt rudeness from him. 

Without the diagnosis, I worried that we would only see him through this lens, perhaps subconsciously comparing him to his brothers because we weren’t understanding that part of that diagnosis is a real difficulty with executive functioning skills.

Having the diagnosis helped us understand and have compassion for him.

The second reason, though, was so that he would understand himself better so that he did not feel like there was something wrong with him

Because children with ADHD and other other diagnoses that can fly under the radar, which can be autism in some children, as well sometimes mental health diagnoses, start to feel like something is wrong with them.  

They feel the frustration from the adults around them in their life, whether that’s teachers or parents or family members, because they’re not acting in the way that we expect them to. 

They also can feel the struggle in tasks, whether that’s in social situations or learning, when they cannot attend. They start to see that other children around them aren’t able to do things, and aren’t being corrected or redirected as often as they are. 

And I really believed that if we found out that my son did in fact have ADHD that it would empower him and help him to understand that there is nothing wrong with him but that a certain part of his brain has some difficulty and that is what the difference is. 

And that leads us to our third point which is that I knew that this would allow him to advocate for his needs.

Recently, as we are working on developing strategies, I suggested to him, “Why don’t you check in with your teacher on the way out of the classroom just to make sure that you have jotted down the homework correctly,” because sometimes he doesn’t.

As a result of his ADHD, when the directions are being given, he has a hard time tracking if it’s multiple steps, and he may have drifted off and not been paying attention and then he leaves the class with a very vague sense of exactly what it is he is supposed to be doing. 

So this seemed like a simple suggestion and it broke my heart when he said to me, “I can’t do that because they will ask me why I wasn’t paying attention” and I realized that he was right. 

But when he has this ADHD diagnosis he can say to an adult, “I have ADHD and I struggle with attention.” Moreover, I as the parent can let the school know, “Hey, he has this struggle, we are working on supporting him.”

Right now, we want him to be as independent as possible, but he has to take the steps in building those skills first. That diagnosis allows us to advocate for his needs. 

And number four, it’s for the future.

If at some point school gets so difficult that he needs extra support, he needs a 504 or an IEP plan, which he does not at the moment. I wanted that diagnosis in place because with it I can get the support way more quickly than if I go then and start the evaluation process.  

Depending on where you live and the availability around you, this could take up to a year to get an evaluation.

So I wanted to have that before we were in a critical state so that if and when, and hopefully he doesn’t, but if he does need additional support he is able to get them because we have that diagnosis in place.

So I just want to encourage you today, that if you are struggling and wrestling with “should I or shouldn’t I?”

I know it’s a big decision, but there are many positive reasons to get a diagnosis.  

And today we are taking so many strides in our culture to celebrate neurodiversity and the language that we are using collectively is changing. 

I have a friend who will say when they are not paying attention in a conversation “Wait wait wait I’m so sorry that was the ADHD, can you kind of say that to me again?” 

And it’s not a strange thing to hear. 

We have high numbers of kids with ADHD and anxiety and even autism, so making this a part of our daily life is a good thing and it’s changing! 

Having those diagnoses today does not mean what it did 10 years ago or even five years ago. 

So I would love to hear what you think.  Leave a comment below this video, and let us know if you are struggling or need some help or encouragement on if you should get your child diagnosed.

 Or if you have already done so and you’ve had some benefits, we would love to hear those too. Thanks so much for listening. I’m so so grateful for you!


More Help For Kids with ADHD and Poor Attention

So many kids struggle with attention, impulsivity, and other executive functioning skills. This is common for kids with ADHD, Autism, and other developmental diagnoses. However, some kids have poor executive functioning and have no diagnosis.

The first step to helping them is to make sure their sensory system is regulated, calm, balanced.  To do that you’ve got to address the sensory system.  

Executive functioning and the sensory system are closely linked.  To get start with some regulating activities grab our printable of 25+ Sensory Activities here and we’ll send it right to your inbox.


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Keep Exploring the Blog with These Helpful Articles:

Sensory Self Regulation: A Critical Skill for Kids with Sensory “Issues”

Occupational Therapy for Autism: How Does it Help?

Everything You Need to Know About Feeding Therapy

What is Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD)?  A Diagnosis for Extreme Picky Eaters


Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 19 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.

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