Making the System Work for Your Child with ADHD

Peter S. Jensen

Paperbacke-bookprint + e-book
June 22, 2004
ISBN 9781572308701
Price: $17.95 $13.46
284 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
April 18, 2013
ePub ?
Price: $17.95 $13.46
284 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $35.90 $19.74
284 Pages

There’s lots of help out there for kids with ADHD, but getting it isn’t always easy. Where can you turn when you’ve mastered the basics and “doing everything right” isn’t enough—the insurer denies your claims, parent-teacher meetings get tense, or those motivating star charts no longer encourage good behavior?

Dr. Peter Jensen has spent years generating ways to make the healthcare and education systems work—as the father of a son with ADHD and as a scientific expert and dedicated parent advocate. No one knows more about managing the complexities of the disorder and the daily hurdles it raises. Now Dr. Jensen pools his own experiences with those of over 80 other parents to help you troubleshoot the system without reinventing the wheel. From breaking through bureaucratic bottlenecks at school to advocating for your child’s healthcare needs, this straightforward, compassionate guide is exactly the resource you’ve been looking for.

“Offers numerous concrete suggestions on developing a plan and finding the resources to put it into place....Also includes ten appendices that comprehensively address the daunting specifics.”

Kirkus Reports

“Finally, a book that really talks about what parents have to do to make things work when their child has been diagnosed with ADHD! This is an amazing book, and every parent whose child has ADHD should read this and apply it. I wish I had had this guide at the start of the process in my own family, but I am glad that others will have it, hopefully much earlier in their own process. Thank you, Dr. Jensen, and thank you to all the parents whose marvelous and moving stories are included here. This book is a godsend.”

—Barbara Huff, Executive Director, Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

“A practical, helpful, and easy-to-understand book that informs parents and helps them take charge of their child's care. Many excellent strategies are provided to enhance parents' effectiveness as decision makers and advocates.”

—Patricia H. Latham, JD, coauthor of Attention Deficit Disorder and the Law

“This must-read book acknowledges that 'ADHD is not a sprint; it's a marathon.' Comprehensive and clear, it outlines a sane and safe approach to tackling all the tough issues you face as a parent: making medication decisions, safeguarding your child's educational rights, and much more. You'll especially enjoy Dr. Jensen's real-life anecdotes, particularly those about coping with his own son's ADHD.”

—Ellen Kingsley, Editor-in-Chief, ADDitude Magazine

“This is an exceptional book on a sadly overlooked topic that cries out for serious attention. Thank you, Dr. Jensen, for so richly filling this void for parents of children with ADHD. Few could rival Dr. Jensen's qualifications—as clinical professional, government insider, and sensitive parent—for writing this highly informative book that guides parents through the byzantine process of obtaining professional assistance for their child through the health care, educational, and community systems. Parents, take note: there is simply no comparable book on this topic, and none so useful. I only wish I had written it.”

—Russell A. Barkley, PhD, author of Taking Charge of ADHD; Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina

“Dr. Jensen is one of the smartest and wisest child psychiatrists around. In this groundbreaking book, he gives parents his authoritative knowledge in a form they can easily use and reliably turn to. This book guides you through the wilderness of looking for help, and will bring you to the help you may have been seeking for years. This book is a masterpiece, and best of all, it is practical, useful, and unpretentious.”

—Edward Hallowell, MD, coauthor of Driven to Distraction

“This is the best book I have ever seen that gives you the 'inside story' on getting the help you need for your child with ADHD. Dr. Jensen and his panel of expert parents show you how to navigate the system like a pro—and offer reassurance that you're not in this alone. This book helps parents and caregivers orchestrate a master plan for the care of their child and develop key partnerships within healthcare and educational settings. Kudos to Dr. Jensen and the many parents who share their thoughts, feelings, and stories in these pages.”

—Beth A. Kaplanek, RN, mother of a child with ADHD and past president of CHADD

Table of Contents


I. Taking Charge of Getting Help for Your Child

1. Nowhere to Turn?: Why It's So Hard to Get the Help Your Child Deserves and What You Can Do About It

2. Principles of Action for the Expert Parent

3. Developing a Plan for Your Child: How to Use Your Knowledge of Yourself and Your Child to Get the Best Care Available

4. What You Need to Get Started: Essential Tools and Resources for the Expert Parent

II. What to Expect and How to Get What Your Child Needs

5. Getting the Best from the Healthcare System

6. Getting the Best from Your Child's Education

7. Getting the Best Out of Your Home and Family Life

8. Getting the Best from All the Rest

9. Looking Ahead

Appendix A. Parent/Advocacy Organizations and Resources You Need to Know About

Appendix B. Funding- and Insurance-Related Resources You Need to Know About

Appendix C. Legal/Advocacy Resources You Need to Know About

Appendix D. Useful Books

Appendix E. Using Behavioral Strategies to Help Your Child Improve His or Her Behavior

Appendix F. Sample Section 504/ADA Accommodation Plan

Appendix G. Table of Psychiatric Disorders, Symptoms, and Proven Treatments

Appendix H. Sample Letters

Appendix I. Ways to Become Involved

About the Author

Peter S. Jensen, MD, is Director of the Center for the Advancement of Children's Mental Health and Ruane Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Previously, he was Associate Director of Child and Adolescent Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he was the lead NIMH investigator on a major study of the treatment of ADHD. He is the author or editor of numerous scientific articles and books; has received prestigious national awards for his research, writing, and teaching; and serves on the board of directors of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), among other organizations. This book is the first in a new series edited by Dr. Jensen, "Making the System Work for Your Child."


Parents seeking support, advice and techniques to manage ongoing challenges of their child's care; also of critical interest to educators, teachers, school psychologists, and health care professionals.