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Friday, August 16, 2013

Helping Students With ADHD in School

From About.com

By Keath Low
August 14, 2012

Developing a Parent/Teacher Partnership for School Success

Children with ADHD often have a difficult time in school. Help ensure school success by partnering collaboratively with your child's teacher early on and maintaining positive communication throughout the school year.

School can be very difficult for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When a child struggles to sustain attention, maintain self-control, stay organized and interact appropriately with peers, the school setting can be quite a daunting place. Students with ADHD may struggle to keep up with the demands of school and are often at greater risk for underachievement, non-compliant behaviors and social rejection.

Despite these risks, however, your child can be successful at school. To help ensure this success, it is important for parents and teachers to work together and build a positive and collaborative partnership to support the child.

You know that parenting a child with ADHD isn't always easy. It requires a lot of energy, creativity, and patience. It also requires a willingness to learn all you can about ADHD and how it affects your child day-to-day.

The same is true for teachers. There are a lot of wonderful, passionate, caring teachers out there and the more informed the teacher is about ADHD and how to best manage its related behavioral symptoms, the better.

Your child's teacher is one of the most important variables in supporting your child's success at school. This is especially true if your child will be spending most of the school day in one classroom. If the teacher is informed, involved, and willing to provide the extra effort and understanding your child will require, then the likelihood that your child's experiences at school will be happy and productive ones is increased significantly. 

Below are some tips for establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your child's teacher this year.

Partnering With Your Child's Teacher Throughout the School Year

1.) Meet with your child's teacher before the school year begins. Use this time to share about your child. Let the teacher know about your child's personality, his or her strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Talk about classroom strategies and accommodations that have been most effective in helping your child. Share any concerns and brainstorm possible solutions. As you talk with the teacher you can also ask about her (or his) experiences teaching other students with ADHD.

2.) Set up a time for your child to meet the teacher before the start of the school year. Many schools have a "meet the teacher day" when all the students come to the classroom to meet their new teacher and visit their new classroom. If your child has struggled previously in school or gets overwhelmed in less structured settings, it can help to set up a separate time for him or her to meet the teacher one-on-one -- just the teacher, your child, and you.

Help prepare your child ahead of time so he (or she) is more comfortable sharing about himself. Your child's relationship with the teacher is incredibly important. If there is a warmth and understanding that is developed early on, it is often easier to remain positive and solution focused when the going gets tough.

3.) Set up a regular communication system between school and home. Ask the teacher what system would work best for her. It may be through face-to-face meetings, telephone calls, emails, notes sent home, daily report cards, etc. It is often helpful to set up periodic meetings through the school year that include the teacher, you, and your child. Keeping your child involved and active in his (or her) own educational plan is important and teaches necessary self-advocacy skills.

If problems arise or you become frustrated with your child's teacher, it is important to remain solution focused with a positive tone. Work with the teacher to solve problems, express your feelings in a productive way, and keep at the forefront of your mind that your aim is to help your child be successful at school. A combative relationship in which you are butting heads with the teacher is hurtful to your child.

If you have tried to work collaboratively with the teacher but feel stuck, connect with the school principal or school counselor for assistance in working through issues with the teacher and getting back on track in identifying appropriate interventions and supports at school for your child.

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NESCA (Neuropsychology and Education Services for Children and Adolescents) is a pediatric neuropsychology group practice in Newton, MA whose senior clinicians and allied staff evaluate and treat a wide range of complex learning, developmental, behavioral  and emotional disorders. Seeking to identify and empower the best in each child, they also address special education issues, school placements and post-secondary transition, often observing children in their classrooms and participating in TEAM meetings. NESCA has served clients from throughout the U.S. and more than twenty other countries.

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