DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend has confided to me about her son’s troubles in school. He is the goofball of his class and doesn’t like sitting down to do work. He is in third grade, and "Adrienne" is saddened that he is not doing well in any of his classes.
I work with children who have ADD and ADHD, but I was not sure if she was telling me about her son’s troubles because he most likely has ADHD. Should I reach out to her and give her my professional opinion? I doubt she was coming to me only as a friend, knowing my profession. -- Work and Friends, Seattle
DEAR WORK AND FRIENDS: You should not give her your professional opinion, but you can speak to her in greater depth about her situation. Start by asking her if she told you about her son’s issues because she needs help. You can remind her of what you do and tell her that if she wants to have her son evaluated, you can explain the path forward. You can recommend doctors for him to visit. Depending upon how close you are and how comfortable you feel, you may also offer to have her schedule an appointment with you to evaluate him. It is important for you to be professional in your discussions with your friend as you advise about medical professionals and if you decide to help the boy yourself. Offer no potential evaluation on the fly.