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A note from a kid with ADHD: How to be my friend

So often our kids with ADHD struggle to maintain friendships. As parents we do so much work counselling our kids on how to make friends and what they should do to keep them.

It occurred to me that there is no resource that we can provide neurotypical children/families about how to be friends with a kid with ADHD.

ADHD is so incredibly common. Coaching kids on how to support kids with ADHD could be a step in changing the stigma and lessoning the rejection our kids feel everyday.

I have worked on this list with my son, Xavier. Most of these words are his. It actually made me incredibly proud to hear how self aware he is.

Is there anything that you would add to this list? Is there anything that you would like other kids to know about your child with ADHD?

A note from a kid with ADHD: 
How to be my friend

  1. Please let my brain toggle.  Like a computer loading, sometimes it takes me a while to think of the right thing to do. 

  2. If sometimes I talk too close to your face, it is ok to remind me nicely to be at arm's length.  But please don’t tell me to go away or shut up.

  3. Sometimes it may feel like I want to be the boss of every game.  It is ok to remind me nicely that everyone can have a turn being the leader.

  4. I may interrupt you when you are talking, I do this because my brain moves so fast I am worried about forgetting what I have to say if I don’t blurt it out straight away.  It is ok to nicely remind me to wait my turn. 

  5. Please include me.  Please ask me if I can play.  Even if sometimes I am hard to be around, please know that being included means everything to me.

  6. I can be great at things when I put my mind to it.  I am watching you to see how you behave and I am learning from you.

  7. Please stand up for me if I am being bullied.  Standing by, doing or saying nothing makes me feel more alone.

  8. Please don't describe my ADHD negatively.  Yes, it can make some things harder for me but it can also be a real gift.  Some of the most famous people in the world have ADHD.

  9. Please invite me to your party when possible.  I don't get invited to many and it really makes me feel special to be included.

  10. I may get overwhelmed or angry and need a bit of space.  If you see this, maybe say “do you want to go for a walk with me?”.  Sometimes I need to be reminded that I can walk away from situations that I don’t feel comfortable in. A change of scene can be all I need.

  11. Please be patient with me.  Sometimes I miss the social cues that you easily see. You can help me by showing me what to do.  I need clear one step instructions so I can understand what is happening.

  12. You can tell me if I am being too much/too loud/too bossy for you.  Please tell me quietly, in a kind way, so I can adjust my behaviours. Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

    We can have a secret safe word.  You could say ‘Chilli’ to me when you are finding me overwhelming.  I would know that you need some space right now, but I also would know that you still want to be my friend.  


I will have your back.  I want you to be happy. I value my friendship with you.  I will laugh with you.  I will support you.  Life with me is one big adventure.  You can tell me how I can be a good friend for you too.


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