Has your son or daughter been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD? Are you concerned that your child’s condition may have an adverse effect on his/her ability to succeed in school? ADHD can be challenging to cope with at home, but the condition can be particularly troublesome at school, causing a number of problems that could impede a child’s success. To address these problems further, in this article we will highlight some of the difficulties ADHD can pose in children, followed by three strategies on how to help your ADHD child excel in school.
Your ADHD Child and School
School can create multiple challenges for a child coping with ADHD, as the various skills that are necessary for school success—sitting still, listening quietly and concentrating—-can seem almost impossible for an ADHD child. Sadly, the inability to practice these skills are often seen by teachers as a child’s unwillingness to learn, which in most cases is simply not true. In fact, many ADHD children are very willing learners, and they tend to test on the “gifted” side of the intelligence scale. However, the symptoms of their disorder can often create problems in acquiring new information in a traditional school format.
3 Ways to Help Your ADHD Child Excel in School
Parents can be very instrumental in helping their ADHD child excel in school. Conversely, parents who unrealistically expect that their child’s teacher will be able to solve their child’s problems on their own, rarely see pleasing results. Experts say a joint effort is needed between parents and teachers to ensure academic success for an ADHD child, and the 3 tips below can be very influential in this process:
- Communication. Teachers, by the very nature of their position, are extremely busy professionals, with many students in their charge. This is why regular communication between parents and teachers is so very important. As a parent, you should make a point of meeting your child’s teacher and other school officials prior to the start of the school year, and schedule regular meetings from that point forward to discuss your child’s issues and progress. Take the time to sit down with your child’s teacher(s) and help create goals for your child, along with reasonable expectations. Be completely open about your child’s condition and explain academic and behavioral techniques that have proven effective in the past, along with those that were largely ineffective. You may even want to create a weekly progress sheet that will help you determine how your child is performing from week to week.
- Behavior Plan. Nobody understands your ADHD child’s behavior better than you do, and nobody understands which modification techniques are most effective in reigning in that behavior. Try to work with your child’s teacher in creating a comprehensive behavior plan, with rewards and consequences that will be implemented at home, just as they are in school.
- Homework Help. As the parent of an ADHD child, you already understand the potential challenges involved with homework, challenges that include difficulties in sitting still and problems with concentration and focus. And because you understand these challenges, you will need to attack the homework problem differently than most other parents. Try to implement a predictable and reliable homework system—homework performed at the same time each day. Feel free to make modifications that may help your child complete his/her homework successfully, such as frequent breaks or allowing your child to stand up from time to time, and institute an award system in which the child is rewarded for meeting homework expectations.
Raising a child with ADHD can be an all-day challenge, but when you develop a consistent plan, one that involves you, your child’s teacher and your child, you can dramatically improve school success and limit the disruptive or impulsive behavior that can often be an obstacle.