It can be a struggle for a child with ADHD or ADD to thrive in a school setting. When my daughter was diagnosed, I did not know where to turn. After researching her condition I discovered there is help for children and parents. The key is to know your rights, treatment options, and where to get help.
1. Utilize all school resources. Thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the parents of students with disabilities have certain rights. ADHD is a condition that is covered under the Act. Check out the website IDEA for more information on your rights as a parent. Your child may also be covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Information on Section 504 can be found at the U.S. Department of Education website.
2. Know about all the treatment possibilities. When my daughter was diagnosed with ADD, I read every piece of information I could find on the subject. Get educated on medications and alternatives and possible conditions that can be similar to ADHD and ADD. The National Resource Center on AD/HD has a lot of information on treatments along with other details.
3. Remind your child that he or she is still responsible for their school work and grades. Regardless of his or her attention and hyperactivity problems, try to shift the responsibility for school success back to your child. (This is assuming that your child has no other problems such as learning disabilities, medical or physical issues)
One of the best things I ever did for my child was to put the responsibility for her grades back on her. One day she asked to come off of her medication because of the way it made her feel. After speaking with her doctor, I agreed to take her off her medication under the condition that she would have to keep her grades up. Sometimes it was a struggle, but she kept up her end of the deal. There are other compromises that can be made to encourage your student to be accountable for his or her grades such as special treats and rewards. Make sure you check with your child’s doctor before stopping any medication.
4. Look for help outside of school and the doctor’s office. If you are lucky enough to live near a major college or university, check with their psychology department to see if they have any programs for ADHD or ADD children or parenting classes for parents of children with the condition. Since their graduate students will be operating the program to get practical experience or to complete a study, the costs should be low to none.
I took parenting classes at a local university to help me deal with my child’s whining problem that occurred during homework time. I found the training to be helpful. Other outside sources can include private tutors. I chose a high school student that was looking to make a few extra dollars to tutor my child. Another option is high school students in civic and community-minded clubs. Tutoring a child can help them with their volunteer hour requirements for their club. Contact your local high school for information on their civic clubs.
5. Find a quiet place for homework and studying. It was impossible for my child to concentrate on school work if there were distractions. Try to organize a clean, quiet spot in your home for your child to study. If it is feasible, make a trip to the local library to do homework a time or two each week. The change of scenery may help encourage concentration.
6. Don’t give up. Ask for help when you need it from teachers, relatives, and friends. Talk to parents of other children with ADHD and ADD to see how they approach homework and study times. I refused to give up on my daughter’s education. As a result, I was able to watch her walk down the aisle to receive her high school diploma.