"He lacks empathy". No, he has lagging perspective-taking skills - ADHD Dude - Ryan Wexelblatt

"He lacks empathy"
When a parent tells me this I am quick to correct them and share my experience.
Kids with ADHD who struggle socially lack perspective-taking skills. That is not the same thing as lacking empathy. In fact, most kids I've worked with have a tremendous amount of empathy, regardless of their perspective-taking skills. I understand how lacking perspective-taking skills can be easily misconstrued by a parent or professional unfamiliar with ADHD as lacking empathy.
🌡️Here's what really makes my blood boil:
Several times a year I hear from parents that their child's therapist told them that their son lacks empathy. If I were a parent and a professional told me this I would be despondent.
This past year I've also heard of several therapists telling parents that their son needs to work on "Emotional Intelligence" or "Emotional IQ" which was described to them as a separate issue from ADHD. I explain to parents that most mental health professionals do not understand that social learning challenges are extremely common in kids with ADHD, thus they perceive it as a separate issue, independent of ADHD.
As I've explained here and in my first ADDitude webinar, etc:
🚩Most mental health professionals get little to no education in ADHD. Typically, ADHD is covered in a psychopathology class, as part of a bigger discussion about neurodevelopmental challenges. This information rarely takes up one class. (Unfortunately teachers do not get much education about ADHD either.)
🚩The only times I've heard of social learning challenges covered in graduate education is from one neuropsychologist. Understandably, in these doctoral level programs, the information tends to be more academic than practical.
🚩I've never heard of a master's level mental health professional such as myself get any education in social learning challenges. At best, what they may learn is that people with ADHD have difficulty "reading social cues", q vague term that does not explain the depth or complexity of social learning challenges.
I find it disconcerting when I hear professionals give parents inaccurate information which is why I wanted to share this. Please always do your due diligence before starting with a professional. Ask specific questions. I find that the parents who truly do their "homework" are the ones who are empowered to make educated decisions and are less likely to have "buyers remorse" regarding a professional working with their kid.
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