I've been a nanny for a family for the past five or so years. The son, especially last year, began displaying symptoms of ADHD, which I only really noticed because they're the same ones I have - difficulty focusing on tasks, hyperfocus on thing he likes, forgetfulness, difficulty organizing, etc. I want to bring this up to his parents, but I'm not sure how to start going about that. Do you have any tips for suggesting to people that their kid might have ADHD and they should look into testing?
Telling parents that their kid might have a disability of some kind is always touchy. Most won’t take kindly to the idea that their children are anything but perfect.
If the parents know that you have ADHD then it will be easier, because you can bring up some of the things he does as being similar to things you do. This will plant the seed and you don’t have to say “I think your son has ADHD” because you’re saying “I have ADHD and I do X, Y, and Z, and your son does X, Y, and Z too.”
In some respects, it is easier for you to bring it up than if you were just a family friend, because you are the child’s nanny and you do have a responsibility to talk to them about any concerns you might have about their children’s development. So you could sit down with them in that capacity and say “I wanted to talk to you about Johnny because I’ve noticed that he has a lot of the same difficulties I do with [these things]. I have these problems because I have ADHD, and I think it might be beneficial if you had him assessed so that if he also has it you can decide on a treatment plan and get him help early.” (If you weren’t diagnosed as a child you can talk about how much easier things might have been if you had been; if you were diagnosed as a child, you can talk about whether that was helpful for you and why.)
The one thing I would caution you on here is that many of the things that are common to ADHD are things that children naturally are not developmentally ready for prior to age seven. So if this kid is younger than that, some of the things may be developmentally appropriate for him and it would be better to wait a couple of years to see if he develops the skills later on. However, if he’s over seven and having these difficulties it’s probably time he be evaluated.
Followers, what’s your advice? Parents, what approach would you prefer?