This series of tips may help your child succeed both at home and at school.
ADHD students often have difficulty writing, including poor handwriting, grammar, and spelling errors. The sequence of listening, taking in information, processing it, and then writing it down is very challenging for them. They may also have trouble understanding what they are told or expressing their thoughts effectively.
More than anything, children with ADHD may need extra time. Teachers should develop abbreviated assignments or provide extended time for children with ADHD. Taking points off for poor handwriting or grammar will require your child to expend enormous effort and it may be best to let some things slide. Providing a few extra moments for verbal questions can also be very helpful.
Parents should provide extra support to their children with ADHD. This can include writing down answers the child provides orally, using a word processor and providing positive reinforcement to emphasize your child's strengths. Create an encouraging language-rich environment in your home and never shame your child for slow processing or misuse of words. Early intervention is critical.
Children with ADHD have difficulty keeping track of information and time and often fall into patterns of handing homework in late. They usually want to be compliant, but lack the organizational skills.
Children with ADHD need a high degree of supervision and structure. Systems that provide cues and reminders can help. Always make sure your child writes down the assignment and has a homework folder. For longer-term projects, it may be useful to track the child's progress periodically. Homework corrections should also be positive and instructive.
Help your child develop a system that will provide support from the beginning to the end of a project. Some ideas include checklists and labeling or color-coding books, binders and folders by subject. Establishing a routine is important. Don't let your child procrastinate. Allow him or her more independence as a reward.
ADHD is not just an inability to pay attention, but an inability to control what one pays attention to. Children with the disorder are unable to inhibit their response to distractions, such as noise or movement from outside, or their own inner thoughts.
Encourage your child to sit close to the teacher and away from doors or windows. Privacy dividers may help limit distractions during study sessions. Teachers should use a variety of visual, auditory and kinesthetic lessons to keep your child involved. Short lesson periods with a variety of pacing will help keep your child engaged. Teachers should use nonverbal cues to refocus attention, rather than reprimanding (e.g., patting child on the shoulder).
Establish a daily homework routine, which can include a break between school and homework, or even multiple breaks during homework time. Help your child set up a distraction-free environment and sit with them if necessary to help them stay focused. Alert the teacher when your child does not have the skills to complete an assignment or if it takes an inordinately long time.
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