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ADHD Parents Together
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Looking for good advice

Hi I'm KB new to the group, my son is now 18 starting college next week, he's been diagnosed with ADHD, Asbergers Syndrome, ODD, since age 7, I see him shutting down, with all the anxiety of starting a new chapter in his life , he's not one to communicate with me, he's actually extremely disrespectful and in denial of his diagnosis, he's on no medication refuses to go to a therapist, and since he's 18 he is considered an adult, and I'm told to step back so hard to do this.....I feel so helpless any suggestions?

3 Replies


As hard as it is, stepping back is really the only thing you can do...unless/until he asks for your help, which he might not do until he gets to a point on his own where HE sees the need to do something about his symptoms and he asks for help.

One thing to keep in mind is that kids with ADHD are often at least 3 years behind developmentally. So even though he's legally an adult, he is likely to be thinking and acting like a 14 or 15 year old. So it may take awhile for him to get there. But eventually he will. It took my son til his early 20s. It was really hard for me to step back. But it was the right thing to do. Until he was ready, the more I offered help, the more he rebelled. He had to figure out things in his own way (often the hard way!)

So, it's not going to be easy to watch; as parents we want to protect our kids. But it's very important that you resist the urge to step in, save or rescue him--you need to let him experience consequences so HE can get to a point where he sees continuing the way he's going about things is not working for him. Anything you do right now to try to control him or the situation may make YOU feel better in the moment, but will not really be helping him in the long run.

As I said, it won't be easy, but it will be worth it when he finally takes the reins himself. It will happen, but maybe not for a long time.

Hang in there!!

Joyce Mabe

Parent Coach, mom of adult son with ADHD, author

Website: parentcoachjoyce.com

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Wow thank you so much for posting! I had a question if you have ever experienced or heard of a child acquiring a jerking twitch as a result of ADHD? My 10 year old son has a really strict teacher who has been using any trick in the book to get my child to do his work because he's easily distracted and gets lost. She's even threatened to send him to the principal's office. I spoke with the teacher and told her I didn't think threatening was going to work and that we could try a behavior chart starting with the goal of finishing his work. If he came home with a signature, then we would allow him 30 minutes game time or TV time. If not, then he wouldn't be allowed to. My thought was this is that we could support her at home and he could directly see the impact his lack of doing his class work is having at home. My hope is that this method will be less stressful to my son so his twitching will calm down. I don't want other kids to make fun of him because my fear is as he gets older he could run the risk of suicide. Trembling just thinking of that...


You mention that your son is on the spectrum, and that puts a different spin on the situation than if he "only" has ADHD. My middle son has Aspergers and people can take advantage of him because of his processing issues. If he is ever cooperative with you, or has an emotional experience where he reaches out, you could suggest signing a Supported Decision-making Agreement. The college will not be able to claim FERPA prevents them from talking with you about your adult child.

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